Oct. 10, 2001
ATLANTA — After a week on the road, the Georgia Tech volleyball team (8-4, 4-2 ACC) returns to O’Keefe Gym to play three matches this week, hosting Maryland, Virginia and Arkansas. On Friday, the Jackets will take on Maryland (7-7, 3-3 ACC) at 7 p.m., while Virginia (5-8, 1-5 ACC) will visit Tech on Saturday at 7 p.m., followed by a visit on Sunday by non-conference foe Arkansas (9-4, 2-0 SEC). The Jackets have played just one match in the last 10 days, a 3-0 loss to North Carolina last week.
“We have some clearly established goals this year of being an NCAA tournament team,” said head coach Shelton Collier. “We are also are working to position ourselves to win the ACC tournament at the end of the season, so these matches are really important for us.”
Maja Pachale (Schwerin, Germany) has been the leader this season for the Jackets as she has recorded 183 kills on the year, and leads the conference in kills per game with 4.62. In addition, the outside hitter needs just one dig to become just the fifth player in school history to record 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs. In addition, Alexandra Preiss (Berlin, Germany) continues to perform well hitting a team-high .437 and recording 1.14 blocks per game in conference matches.
On Friday night, the Jackets will host Maryland, a team that has been perhaps the biggest surprise in the conference this year. The Terps finished the 2000 season with just a 4-12 conference record, but this year have already notched three conference victories this year, including recent wins over Duke and Florida State.
“Maryland returns a number of players from last year’s team, including the top hitter in the league this season in Willette Dorrity,” said Collier. “She will be difficult to handle, along with outside hitter Carey Brennan. Those two combined with some of their other players are going to present a challenge for us, along with the fact that they are a very hard working team.”
Saturday marks the 28th meeting between Virginia and Georgia Tech, with the Cavaliers holding a slim 14-13 edge in the series. The two teams split their matches last season, with each team winning on the other’s home court.
“Unlike Maryland, Virginia lost some key players after last season and seems to be in a rebuilding phase this year,” said Collier. “Their team is not nearly as potent as it was last year or in year’s past, and at 1-5, they are probably not in the hunt for the ACC title. However, they are going to be a factor in beating some teams this year, and we need to make sure we are not one of them.”
Sunday’s match against Arkansas is just the second time that the two teams have met, with the Jackets holding the series edge after a three-game victory in 1996.
“Although we don’t traditionally play Arkansas, they are a very strong athletic team this year,” said Collier. “They are as good as any of the teams we play in the ACC and I feel like they will force us to play at a high level and it will be a good match for our team to continue to improve.”
“We’ve had some inconsistent performances from players, and this weekend we are really going to need them to play very consistent,” said Collier. “Certainly our team plays well at home, and after a loss like we had on the road last week, it will be good for us to play in our gym in front of our fans in order to regain some confidence we may have lost this past weekend.”