Sept. 5, 2009
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – The Georgia Tech Volleyball team (4-2) split a pair of matches Saturday in the second day of action at the Middle Tennessee Blue Raider Bash. In the first match, Tech dropped a five-set thriller (25-21, 19-25, 21-25, 25-21, 8-15) to Ohio (4-1). The Yellow Jackets then bounced back to sweep (25-23, 25-20, 25-22) Northern Illinois (4-4) in the night cap.
Sophomore Bailey Hunter led the charge against NIU with a career-high 16 kills on a hitting percentage of .324. Junior Jordan McCullers recorded a career-high 20 digs, while senior Chrissy DeMichelis (11) and freshman Monique Mead (10) combined for 21 kills on the evening. Mead also added five digs, while junior Mary Ashley Tippins paced the offense all night with a match-high 40 assists.
“I’m proud of our team for the way they bounced back after tough losses to two very good teams,” said head coach Tonya Johnson. “We have to get better in certain aspects of our game and learn how to finish matches to become a better team.”
Mead, Hunter and DeMichelis each had four digs in set one as the Jackets squeaked out a 25-23 win. They trailed for much of the set, but turned a 19-15 deficit into a win with a late 10-2 run.
The Yellow Jackets then used a 9-2 run mid-way through the second set to pull out a win. Hunter accounted for seven of Tech’s 15 kills in that second set. In the final set, Tech put away the match with a late charge after trailing 20-19.
Freshman Monique Mead led the Yellow Jackets against Ohio with 13 kills, eight digs and seven total blocks. Sophomore Bailey Hunter had 12 kills and five digs, while senior Chrissy DeMichelis had 11 kills and three digs.
Senior Brittany Roderick had a season-high eight kills for Tech. Also turning in a solid performance was sophomore Asia Stawicka as she tallied seven total blocks as well as seven kills. Junior Jordan McCullers recorded a team-high 11 digs, while junior Mary Ashley Tippins added nine digs.
Tech hit .172 in the match, while the Bobcats had a .266 hitting percentage.
The match against Ohio was very close, but it was the Bobcats prevailing behind a 15-8 win in set five. The Yellow Jackets started out quick winning the first set 25-21 as Mead posted five of her kills to begin the day. The Yellow Jackets led for much of the first set, but Ohio came back to tie it up late at 20. Tech responded with five of the next six points to put away the Bobcats and go up 1-0 in the match.
“After last night’s match we challenged our team to come out today and do a better job of being disciplined and executing,” added head coach Tonya Johnson. “They responded to that challenge and came out doing some really good things. Ohio showed in set five what experienced teams do in the crunch time. They came out poised and executed to win the match.”
Set two saw Ohio win by a score of 25-19. Tech led by a score of 11-8, but the Bobcats came back to eventually tie the set at 16 before closing out on a 9-3 run to even up the match. In set three, Ohio led by as many as six points. Tech closed within a point at 16-15 forcing an Ohio timeout, but the Bobcats closed out the set and took a 2-1 lead.
In set four, the Jackets bounced back with a 25-21 win to even up the match at two apiece. They trailed by two points, 16-14, before going on an 11-5 run to send the match to a deciding fifth set. In the fifth set, Ohio built an 8-2 lead and never looked back en route to the victory.
Next weekend, the Yellow Jackets return home to host the Georgia Tech Courtyard Classic, Sept. 11-12 at O’Keefe Gym. On Friday, Sept. 11 the Jackets will host Clemson at 7 p.m. in their ACC opener. Mississippi and Southeast Missouri State will play the first match at 4:30 p.m. Then on Saturday, Tech will face SEMO at 12:30 p.m. and Ole Miss at 7 p.m. There will also be matches at 10:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
If you can’t make it out to O’Keefe Gym for the Georgia Tech Courtyard Classic, all of Tech’s games will be broadcast live on WREK, 91.1 FM. Live stats via Gametracker as well as an audio stream can be found at www.ramblinwreck.com.