Sept. 18, 2003
Led by the National Player of the Week Kele Eveland (Grand Rapids, Mich.), the No. 5 Georgia Tech volleyball team (8-0) hosts the Georgia Tech Invitational this weekend in O’Keefe Gymnasium. The Yellow Jackets will open the tournament against 24th-ranked Wisconsin Friday at 7:30 p.m. Tech will face Western Carolina Saturday at 10 a.m., followed by a 5 p.m. contest with South Florida.
Other matches in the tournament include a 5 p.m. contest Friday between South Florida and Western Carolina and on Saturday, South Florida and Wisconsin will play at 12 p.m. followed by a 2 p.m. match between Western Carolina and Wisconsin.
Tech opens the tournament against No. 24 Wisconsin (6-2) marking the fourth consecutive ranked opponent that the Jackets have faced. The match will be televised regionally on a tape delay basis on Fox Sports Net South on Sept. 28th at 2 p.m.
“The Wisconsin match is important to us for a few reasons,” said head coach Bond Shymansky. “One is that it’s the first match this weekend and just like any weekend, we really want to start off playing well. Secondly, they are a tough competitor and are going to be as good as Nebraska was. They are more experienced than Nebraska and they have the same type of size and the same type of tradition and they will not get scared just because they are walking into our building just because we are ranked fifth. They are used to all of those things and we are going to have to execute and beat them with good volleyball.”
The Jackets return to action to face Western Carolina (7-3) in their first match Saturday morning. The two teams have met 18 times with the series knotted at 9-9, including a 3-0 Jacket victory in 1996 and current Tech assistant coach Ben Bodipo-Memba spent five years with the Catamounts before coming to the Flats.
“Ben certainly knows a lot about the program and is excited both to see them play for nostalgia sake and also to play against them,” said Shymansky. “Anytime you have been at a program for any length of time, when you take on your old school you want to show people that you made a good move. We don’t know a whole lot about this year’s team, but I expect we will very quickly.”
The Jackets’ final match of the tournament will be against South Florida (5-6), an NCAA participant in 2002. The Bulls hold the series edge, 2-0, including a five game victory during the 2002 season.
“This is somehwat of a revenge match for us this year and our approach will be similar to the way we approached this year’s Alabama match,” said Shymansky. “Last year they flat out beat us and we will have a lot of work to do this weekend to beat South Florida. Their coach prepares them really well, they worked really hard, and they have a lot of great athletes on their team and I’m sure it will be a tough match for both teams.”
All of the Jackets’ matches will be broadcast live on WREK radio (91.1 FM) and livestats may be followed at www.ramblinwreck.com as well as audio internet streaming at www.wrek.org.
Eveland, this week’s Sports Imports/AVCA National Player of the Week, currently leads the nation in assists per game (14.50) and is running an offense which leads the nation in kills per game (18.56), assists per game (17.11) and hitting percentage (.367). In addition, outside hitter Lynnette Moster leads the team in kills per game (4.81) and service aces per game (.58) and is third on the team in digs per game (2.58).
“We are certainly excited to be playing at home again,” said Shymansky. “There’s something about being in O’Keefe Gym in front of our fans that is special. There’s a great deal of excitement right now with our program and I hope this is a good launching point for us to get more fans to watch our team play.”