Sept. 24, 2008
ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech volleyball team will conclude its seven-match road swing this weekend when it travels to the state of Virginia to take on Virginia and Virginia Tech. The Cavaliers (8-5, 0-1 ACC) opened conference play Tuesday with a 3-0 loss to the Hokies (10-2, 1-0) in Blacksburg, but will return to Charlottesville to host the Yellow Jackets (9-2, 1-0 ACC) at 7 p.m. Friday at Memorial Gym. Georgia Tech will then continue on to Blacksburg to play Virginia Tech Saturday at 6 p.m. before returning to Atlanta.
The Yellow Jackets (9-2, 1-0 ACC) haven’t played a match at O’Keefe Gym since the first weekend in September when they hosted the Regency Suites/Georgia Tech Classic, but host Florida State and Miami next weekend when they “Dig for the Cure” to raise money for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.
This Weekend’s Matches:
Friday: Georgia Tech at Virginia, 7 p.m.
Saturday: Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech, 6 p.m.
Game Coverage: Live stats for the match against Virginia will be available at www.ramblinwreck.com while www.hokiesports.com will host live stats for Georgia Tech’s match at Virginia Tech. Saturday’s match can also be seen on ACC Select (http://www.theacc.com/accselect/index.html).
The Teams of Late
Georgia Tech – The Yellow Jackets have won four-straight matches since suffering a pair of five-set losses to No. 25 Michigan (Regency Suites/Georgia Tech Classic) and SMU (Magnolia Invitational at Ole Miss). Two of those four wins came last weekend as the Yellow Jackets won their second tournament title of the season with a 3-2 victory at Clemson to open conference play and a 3-0 sweep of 2007 NCAA Tournament participant Florida A&M, which has won 99-consecutive league matches. The Yellow Jacket offense is starting to come together as seniors Talisa Kellogg and Callie Miller continue to heal from early-season injuries and have been nearly unstoppable over the last two weeks. Against Clemson and Florida A&M, Kellogg hit .333 with 5.25 kills, 1.50 digs and 0.75 blocks per set while Miller hit at a .367 clip with 3.12 kills, 0.75 service aces, 0.62 digs and 0.62 blocks per set. Over the last four matches, the tandem has combined for 6.7 kills, 1.73 digs and 1.20 blocks per set for the Yellow Jackets.
Virginia – Entering the week, the Cavaliers had lost two of their last three matches, including a 3-0 defeat at the hands of fourth-ranked UCLA at last weekend’s Northwestern Tournament. Like Georgia Tech, Virginia captured two tournament titles in 2008 – the James Madison Tournament and the Marriott Jefferson Cup, which was held in Charlottesville and hosted by the Cavs. Virginia lost its top outside hitter (Sarah Kirkwood) and middle (Katie Oakes) from a year ago, but returns senior middle Shannon Davis (.316, 1.86 Kps, 0.86 Bps) and junior outside hitter Lauren Dickson (3.33 Kps, 2.64 Dps), both of whom were tabbed preseason All-ACC. The Cavaliers, which finished fourth in the league standings behind the Yellow Jackets a year ago, were picked to finish fifth in 2008 in a preseason vote by the league’s head coaches.
Virginia Tech – The Hokies entered the week on a six-match winning streak after breezing through the tournament fields at the Arkansas and UNC Wilmington Tournaments the last two weekends. Virginia Tech opened ACC play Tuesday night with an identical record (9-2) as the Yellow Jackets, and face Clemson (Friday) before hosting Georgia Tech Saturday evening. The Hokies finished the 2007 season in a tie for eighth place in the conference standings, and were picked to finish eighth again in 2008. Returning for her second season in Blacksburg is 2008 preseason All-ACC selection and 2007 ACC Rookie of the Year Felicia Willoughby, who is hitting a team-best .408 while averaging 2.47 kills and 1.04 blocks per set. The Hokies also return their top offensive threat, Taylor Parrish (2.56 Kps, 1.47 Dps) and added freshman Justine Record (2.84 Kps, 2.34 Dps) to the roster.
Tech vs. the Opponents (Tech leads Virginia, 25-17, GT leads VT, 6-3)
Georgia Tech holds a 25-17 lead in the series against Virginia and is 10-3 vs. the Cavaliers under head coach Bond Shymansky. The Yellow Jackets and Cavs split the season series a year ago, with each team earning a five-set win against the other on the road. Tech’s win over Virginia late in the 2007 season snapped a three-match winning streak by the Cavaliers which followed an 11-match winning streak by the Yellow Jackets. With the 3-2 victory a year ago, Georgia Tech evened the series in Charlottesville at 10-10, with five of those 10 wins at Memorial Gym coming under Shymansky. Tech is 5-1 against Virginia in Charlottesville since 2002 (Shymansky’s first season on the Flats).
The Yellow Jackets earned wins in both matches against the Hokies a year ago and are 6-3 against Virginia Tech all-time. Georgia Tech is 5-2 against Virginia Tech under head coach Bond Shymansky and has earned three of its six wins against the Hokies in Blacksburg.
Kellogg Receives National Recognition
Following a strong weekend at the Clemson Classic, where Tech captured the tournament title with wins over reigning ACC champion Clemson and 2007 NCAA participant Florida A&M, Talisa Kellogg received national recognition as one of the top-10 national performers of the week, as announced by Collegiate Volleyball Update. The Westerville, Ohio native was passed over for ACC Player of the Week honors following a stellar 28-kill performance against the Tigers, the preseason pick to win the league again in 2008, but was one of 10 players in the nation to be tabbed to CVU.com’s “Top Performers” list for September 23.
Jackets Receiving Votes
For the fourth time this season, the Yellow Jacket volleyball team is on mind of coaches from across the country as they received votes by multiple coaches in the fifth AVCA Top-25 poll of the year. Tech hasn’t cracked the top-25 since the preseason 2005 poll.
Yellow Jackets Ranked Nationally
Georgia Tech is ranked either first or second in the league in assists per set (1st), kills per set (1st) and hitting percentage (2nd) and ranks among the top-40 in the nation in all three categories. The Yellow Jackets’ .281 hitting percentage stands 18th in the country while the 12.63 assists and 13.63 kills per set rank 31st and 39th, respectively.
And a Freshman Shall Lead Them
The Yellow Jackets’ ranking of No. 18 in the nation in hitting percentage is thanks in part to the stellar play and precise hitting of freshman middle Asia Stawicka, who leads the league with a .462 hitting percentage. Because the league and NCAA minimums for computing hitting percentage differ, Stawicka is not ranked on the national level, but with 40 more swings the freshman would stand third in the nation in the category.