Sept. 12, 2008
OXFORD, Miss. – The Georgia Tech volleyball team pushed an opponent to a fifth set for the third time in as many matches and snapped a two-match losing streak with a comeback 3-2 (20-25, 25-20, 23-25, 25-19, 15-11) win over Ole Miss Friday night in the Magnolia Invitational at the Grissom Center. With the win, the Yellow Jackets improved to 6-2 on the season while Ole Miss dropped to 3-5.
“This was such an important rebound match for us,” said Georgia Tech head coach Bond Shymansky. “Our team is really showing that they have a strong fortitude and are willing to battle no matter what the situation or scoreboard shows.”
Trailing 2-1 in the match and 13-8 in the fourth set, the Yellow Jackets looked to be headed to their third-straight five-set loss, but Tech mounted a comeback to force a fifth set behind the excellent play of outside hitter Alison Campbell, who posted the first double-double of her career. The freshman notched a match-best 18 kills in addition to 17 digs and two solo blocks in the five-set match.
“Alison continues to be such a steady competitor for our team,” Shymansky said. “She is really coming into her own as she continues to take on a more significant role with our team.”
Senior outside hitter Talisa Kellogg joined Campbell in double figures in kills, posting 14 against the Rebels to pull within three kills of standing eighth in the school’s career record books. Senior libero Michelle Kandell again led the Yellow Jackets’ back row defense, recording a season-high 23 digs.
With the fourth set tied at 17-17, Georgia Tech scored six-straight points, two off blocks and another four off errors by the Lady Rebels, to take control of the set. Ole Miss would score back-to-back kills to pull within four points at 23-19, but Tech finished off the frame with kills by Kellogg and Callie Miller to force the fifth and deciding set.
The fifth set belonged to the Jackets from the beginning, as Tech won seven of the first 10 points with a strong balance of offense and defense. The Jackets logged nine kills, one block and 15 digs while the Rebels managed only seven kills and 11 digs in the final frame.
The loss was Ole Miss’ first five-set defeat in two years – the Rebels were a perfect 7-0 in five-set matches in 2007.
Regina Thomas was nearly unstoppable in the first set, converting on seven of her 10 attack attempts while committing just one error to help Ole Miss to a 25-20 win. The Lady Rebel notched three of her seven kills during a 5-1 run that pushed Ole Miss’ lead to 21-12, but Tech scored four unanswered points, all on errors by the home team, to pull within five at 21-16. The two teams then split the next eight points to give the Rebels the opening-set win.
With the Yellow Jackets leading by just one point at 14-13 in the second set, Tech won seven of the next 12 points, five of which came off errors by Ole Miss, to push its lead to 21-18. Tech’s defense improved in the second frame as the Jackets posted 19 digs, including six by Campbell to give her a new season high. Tech held on to win, 25-20, with the five errors proving to be the difference in the set.
After being held to a .103 hitting percentage in the second frame, the Rebels answered with a .306 mark in the third set to win, 25-23. Trailing by one point early-on, Ole Miss scored six-straight points, four of which came off Yellow Jacket attacking errors, to take a 10-5 lead. Tech would benefit by a trio of attacking errors by the Rebels late in the frame, pulling to within one point at 20-19, but the two teams traded the next nine points before Ole Miss’s Caitlin Weiss ended the set on a kill to give the Rebels a 2-1 lead in the match.
“We need to find a better balance in our offensive attacks as we strive to become a better team, but any win over an SEC opponent is important to us and to our conference,” Shymansky added. “Now we just need to focus on the quick turnaround and be ready to go tomorrow morning.”
The Jackets wrap up tournament play Saturday morning when they face Eastern Illinois at 11 a.m. ET at the Gillom Center. Live stats will be available at www.ramblinwreck.com and www.olemisssports.com.