ATLANTA, GA (Sept. 20) – With nearly a third of the season completed, Georgia Tech’s volleyball team (10-3) begins its Atlantic Coast Conference schedule on the road this week as the Yellow Jackets travel to Wake Forest (9-2) on Friday and Duke (4-4) on Tuesday, Sept. 28.
The Yellow Jackets enter the 1999 ACC season as the winners of two tournaments with three players receiving all-tournament honors.
“We wanted to take a good win-loss record into the ACC schedule, so we have accomplished that at 10-3,” said Tech head coach Shelton Collier. “Now the ‘real season’ starts for us with every match in the ACC being very important.
“I believe that road wins will be the most significant variable that will separate the top teams from the middle teams in the league standings.. We need to go out and get two road wins over Wake Forest and Duke to open conference play.”
On Friday, the Jackets will take on the Demon Deacons in Winston-Salem at 7 p.m. Georgia Tech defeated Wake Forest last season in both matches, including a five-game thriller in Winston-Salem.
“Wake Forest has improved a great deal since their program began in 1996,” Collier said. “Their home atmosphere is very similar to ours in O’Keefe, so I’m sure it will be an exciting match.”
Following their conference opener, the Yellow Jackets will return to the state of North Carolina to take on the Duke Blue Devils. Georgia Tech swept Duke in both matches last year, but Duke still holds a 21-8 series advantage.
“With a new coach this season, Duke seems to be playing very inspired,” Collier said. “Both of our road matches will be a good test to see how far we’ve progressed as a team.”
The Jackets are led by sophomore Maja Pachale (Schwerin, Germany) who has been the dominant force for Tech this season. The outside hitter has received all-tournament honors in each tournament Tech has played in, including MVP honors last weekend at the Crimson Tide Classic. She currently leads the team in kills with 181 and service aces with 26 and is second on the team in digs (111) and hitting percentage (.274).
In addition, sophomore Kyleen Bell (Rocklin, Calif.) has played strong for the Jackets, receiving MVP honors at the UTA/Jason’s Deli Tournament, and all-tournament honors at the Crimson Tide Classic last weekend. The middle blocker leads the team in hitting percentage (.313) and is second on the team in kills (147) and blocks per game (1.25).
Junior Teryl Townsend (Alexandria, Minn.) has also been a consistent force as she is third on the team in kills (127), leads the team in digs (124) and is third in hitting percentage (.266). For her performance last weekend, the rightside hitter earned all-tournament honors.
“We have played a number of line-ups thus far and have had success with them,” Collier said. “We have used both setters a great deal, so we have a lot of flexibility and versatility in our game plans as we enter league play and I’m looking forward to the conference season.”