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Tough Test Lies Ahead For Jacket Volleyball

ATLANTA – The Georgia Tech volleyball team (4-0), returns to action as it hosts the 10th-annual Courtyard by Marriott Classic this weekend in OKeefe Gymnasium. The tournament will feature the strongest competition the Jackets have ever entertained as two nationally-ranked teams, Pacific (3-0) and Minnesota (3-0), travel to Atlanta to participate along with Coastal Carolina (1-2).

On Friday, the Jackets will face 8th-ranked Minnesota at 7 p.m., followed by a match against Coastal Carolina on Saturday at 10 a.m., and then their final match against 10th-ranked Pacific on Sunday at 2 p.m.

“This is the strongest tournament we have ever hosted since I have been the coach here,” said head coach Shelton Collier. “Both Minnesota and Pacific are ranked in the top 10 nationally, and both are excellent teams. We are very excited about the chance to play such quality teams on our home court and in front of fans in Atlanta.”

The Yellow Jackets are off to a strong start after capturing the Wildcast Classic in Davidson, N.C., last weekend. In that tournament Tech was led by outside hitter Maja Pachale (Schwerin, Germany), who had 39 kills and hit .373, rightside hitter Ida Mabry (Divjake, Albania), who led the team in kills with 49, and freshman setter Kele Eveland (Grand Rapids, Mich.), who had 134 assists and a team-leading 41 digs. For their efforts, all three received all-tournament honors.

“I was pleased with our performance last weekend, but we certainly have a tough test ahead for us,” said Collier. “Our goal last weekend was to win the tournament and to prepare ourselves for this weekend and I felt like we accomplished both of those goals.”

The series between Tech and Minnesota is tied at one, as each team has won on the opponents home court. In 1996, the Jackets defeated the Gophers in a thrilling five-game match, and the following year, Minnesota returned the favor, beating Tech in three games.

Pacific and Tech have met only once, with the Tigers defeating the Jackets in three games in 1998.

The Jackets hold a 6-1 advantage over Coastal Carolina, with the last meeting occuring in the 1996 NCAA Tournament.

“We are very excited about the opportunity to host such a strong tournament,” said Collier. “If we work hard as a unit this week in practice, I like our chances heading into the weekend.”

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