Sept. 19, 2009
DENVER, Colo. – The Georgia Tech Volleyball team (7-4) closed out the Pioneer Classic with a 3-1 (19-25, 17-25, 27-25, 18-25) loss to No. 9 Minnesota (8-3) Saturday afternoon in the Mile High City. Freshman Monique Mead led the Yellow Jackets with 14 kills as Tech played in its final tournament of the season and now returns home to host NC State and North Carolina next weekend.
Sophomore Bailey Hunter had 13 kills for Georgia Tech, while senior Chrissy DeMichelis added 11 playing close to her hometown of Aurora, Colo. Junior Jordan McCullers led the Yellow Jackets with 17 digs and classmate Mary Ashley Tippins contributed with 43 assists, five digs and a team-high four aces.
“I thought we came out and played much better today,” said head coach Tonya Johnson. “Even though we lost I feel like we got better today, especially after the performance we had last night. We look forward to getting back into the practice gym Monday and preparing for our first full weekend of ACC play.”
The first set was close for the first half, but Minnesota began to pull away and Tech was forced to use a timeout down 17-12. It was later 20-13 Minnesota when the Yellow Jackets tried to mount a rally. Tech scored six of the next seven points to make it a 21-19 score, but the Gophers responded by winning the next four points to take the set 25-19.
Set two was tied at four when the Gophers were able to extend the lead to 12-6. The Yellow Jackets scored the next two points, but after Minnesota reeled off the next three, Tech called timeout down 15-9. Minnesota continued to pull away and won the set 25-17 to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
Georgia Tech led by as many as four points early in set three, but the Gophers came back to tie it at 10. The Yellow Jackets went on another mini-run to up 14-11, but again Minnesota had a surge to come back and tie the set up. The two teams then traded the next several points until Minnesota had match points at 24-23 and Tech called timeout. The Jackets survived two straight match points and soon had its own set point at 26-25. Following a timeout, a kill by DeMichelis won it for the Jackets and forced a fourth set.
The fourth set was close for most of the way as every time Minnesota tried to pull away, the Yellow Jackets hung in. Minnesota began to stretch it out a little at 19-15, its largest lead of the set, and forced a Georgia Tech timeout as the Jackets looked to even the match at two wins apiece. It would not be, however, as the Gophers ended Tech’s valiant come-back attempt and won the set, 25-18. It was a 14-7 run which put Tech away that Minnesota closed the fourth set on.
The Yellow Jackets now return home as Atlantic Coast Conference play picks up in earnest next weekend. On Friday, Sept. 25, Tech hosts NC State at 7 p.m. and then North Carolina will be at O’Keefe for a 1 p.m. match on Sunday, Sept. 27. Both can be heard live on WREK, 91.1 FM. Live audio and stats can also be found at www.RamblinWreck.com.