ATLANTA (Sept. 6) — Fresh off a 3-0 start after winning the UTA/Jason’s Deli Tournament, the Georgia Tech volleyball team returns to Atlanta to host some of the top teams in the nation in the Georgia Tech/Courtyard by Marriott Classic this Friday and Saturday.
The Yellow Jackets opened their 1999 season strong, defeating Texas-El Paso, Arkansas-Little Rock and Texas-Arlington this past weekend and did not drop a game during the tournament.
Several Tech players had impressive performances throughout the weekend. Sophomore Maja Pachale (Schwerin, Germany) leads the Jackets in kills (47) and digs (30) on the season while Kyleen Bell (Rocklin, Calif.) leads the team in hitting percentage (.420) and blocks per game, (1.22). For their efforts, Pachale earned all-tournament honors while Bell was named the tournaments M.V.P. But, the Jackets are not taking much time to celebrate their strong performance last weekend as they head into their home opener this Friday and Saturday facing four strong teams in South Carolina, California-Santa Barbara, Arizona State and Virginia Tech.
“This will be, without a question, the strongest volleyball tournament ever held on the Tech campus,” said Collier. “We are really excited about the tournament and hosting such strong teams.” The Yellow Jackets will open the tournament at 2 p.m. on Friday, hosting South Carolina (3-1) in their home opener. The Gamecocks hold a 2-1 advantage in the series, but the Yellow Jackets won the last meeting in four games in 1991.
“South Carolina was an NCAA Tournament team last year,” said Collier. “Our match will be very important with them to open the tournament.”
Georgia Tech will also face 10th-ranked California-Santa Barbara at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. The match will be televised on Fox Sports Net South on a tape delayed basis to be aired on September 15th at 8 p.m. The Gauchos hold a 1-0 record in the series with the last meeting occurring in 1997.
“Santa Barbara is a Top 10 team,” said Collier. “We are hoping we can have a great environment in a televised match and upset a nationally ranked team in O’Keefe Gym.”
On Saturday, the Yellow Jackets will face Virginia Tech (1-3) in their first match at 12 p.m. before taking on Arizona State (0-1) at 5 p.m. The Hokies hold a 1-0 record in the series with the last meeting taking place in 1990. The Wildcats also hold a 1-0 advantage in the series, defeating the Jackets during the 1998 season.
“Arizona State beat us at their place last year in a close match,” said Collier. “We are looking forward to playing them at home this year.”
The Yellow Jackets have had much success in this tournament as Tech holds a 12-2 record in the Georgia Tech/Courtyard by Marriott Classic.
“We expect great crowds and some exciting volleyball this weekend,” said Collier. “Its great to have a tournament with national implications right here on our campus.”
“We will have all of our players available and we are using several lineups effectively, so I expect us to play well,” said Collier.