Sept. 14, 2003
Lauren Sauer recorded 17 kills and hit a match-high .324 and Jennifer Randall recorded a career-high 23 digs as the No. 10 Georgia Tech volleyball team stunned the No. 5 Nebraska in five games (30-23, 30-25, 26-30, 29-31, 16-14) in the finals of the US Bank/Arby’s Invitational in Lincoln, Neb. The Yellow Jackets improved to 8-0 on the season in handing the Cornhuskers (8-1) their first regular-season loss at home since 1999.
The win for the Yellow Jackets marks the highest ranked opponent Tech has ever beaten and the first time in school history that the Jackets have defeated a ranked opponent on the road. In addition, the win was Tech’s third straight victory over a ranked team–also a first in school history–following victories over No. 17 Michigan State and No. 13 Santa Clara in the tournament.
“There were so many highlights that it just boils down to a fantastic team performance,” said head coach Bond Shymansky, who is now 5-4 in matches against ranked teams. “Our all-American Lynnette Moster struggled during the match, but the rest of our team stepped up to the challenge and in the end it was Lynnette that finished the match with a kill off the block. Laura Kuhn had a breakout match when we needed it most, and Jennifer Randall played some the most inspiring defense I’ve ever seen. Nebraska challenged us in every way possible and made it an exciting match. The atmosphere in the gym was electric. It took more than great volleyball for us to win here – it took unbelieveable passion. I was proud that Kele earned the distinction of MVP. She sets the fastest offense in the country and leads our team with her heart.”
Tech outhit the Cornhuskers, .219 to .183, and five Yellow Jackets finished the match with double-figure kills as Lynnette Moster recorded 15, Jayme Gergen and Laura Kuhn each had 14 and Alexandra Preiss added 10. Defensively, the Jackets outdug Nebraska with five Tech players notching double-figure digs. In addition to Randall, Keight Vincent and Marisa Aston had 16 digs, followed by Moster and Eveland with 11 apiece. At the net, Tech won the battle, recording 12 blocks to Nebraska’s 10. Preiss and Kuhn each had 6 blocks in the match while Gergen and Eveland each tallied 4.
The Cornhuskers were led by Anna Schrad who had a match-high 20 kills and 11 digs.
Tech won the first two games of the match, then dropped the next two before a thrilling 16-14 win in the fifth game, in which Moster’s kill provided the decisive point.
Neither team held more than a two-point lead in game five. Three straight kills from Moster gave the Jackets an 8-6 lead, but Nebraska responded with a kill from Mancuso and Saleaumua. The match then went back and forth with both teams siding out. With the score 12-13, Gergen recorded a kill and Preiss and Eveland had a stuff block, giving Tech a 14-13 lead. Gergen then recorded a serving error tying the game at 14-14. A kill from Eveland gave Tech the ball back and the lead, 15-14. Keight Vincent went back to serve and a kill from Moster off the Cornhuskers’ hands gave the Jackets the win, 16-14.
Tech built an early 2-0 lead in the first game on kills from Gergen and Moster, but two straight Jacket hitting errors tied the game at 2-2. With the Jackets trailing 9-10, Tech sided out on a kill down the net from Gergen and then Gergen served four straight points giving Tech a 14-10 lead and forcing Nebraska into a timeout. After the timeout, the Cornhuskers scored on kills from Schrad and Westling to close the score to 14-12. But, the Jackets maintained their composure and continued to side out. With the score 17-14, Tech sided out on one of Kuhn’s five kills in the game and then scored on a service ace from Preiss giving the Jackets a 19-15 lead. The Jackets then went on an 11-8 scoring run and won the final point of the game on a service error from Westling, marking the 22 consecutive game the Jackets had won and the first time in almost two years that Nebraska had dropped the first game at home. In the game, Tech outhit the Cornhuskers .316 to .146. Kuhn led the way offensively, hitting .500 while Randall had a team-high 6 digs in the game.
Tech fell behind early in game two but tied the game at 4-4 on a serving error by the Cornhuskers and a hitting error by Houghtelling. The Jackets then built a 9-6 lead on a stuff block by Kuhn and Preiss, a kill from Preiss and a hitting error by Saleaumua. Behind the serving of Gergen, Tech scored four points on a setter dump from Eveland and a kill from Preiss and a hitting error off the antennae by Elmer giving the Jackets a 18-12 lead. Tech maintained its lead and had a 27-20 lead before the Cornhuskers sided out on a two down the middle of the net and off the blockers’ hands by Saleaumua. Saleaumua then went back to serve and the Cornhuskers scored on a bad pass from Aston and a blocking error from Gergen forcing the Jackets to take a timeout at 27-24. After the timeout, the Jackets scored off a solid pass from Aston and a kill behind the setter from Gergen into the middle of the court. Gergen then went back to serve and Tech took a 29-24 lead on a set into the referee stands by Lynch. Nebraska came right back with a kill from Schrad but a serving error by Elmer gave the Jackets the second game, 30-25. Tech hit a season low .146 in the game, but held the Cornhuskers to a .071 percentage. Gergen led the way with 6 kills in the game and Randall had 7 digs in the match.
Tech’s ball control struggled in the third game and Nebraska cut down on their errors, hitting .244 in the game and holding the Jackets to a .222 percentage. Schrad led the Cornhuskers with 6 kills while Houghtelling added 4 in the game. For Tech, Preiss recorded a team-high 5 kills in the game.
Tech opened game four slowly and trailed early in the game by as many as seven points. Trailing 13-20, Moster recorded a kill and the Jackets scored on a stuff block from Kuhn and Preiss, a hitting error from Schrad and a kill from Moster to make the score 17-20 and force a Nebraska into a timeout. Tech sided out and then, behind the serve of Moster, tied the game at 23-23 on two straight aces and a Nebraska hitting error. With the game tied at 27-27, the Jackets scored on a stuff block from Preiss and Kuhn and a kill from Moster and held a 29-27 lead. On the ensuing play, Preiss was called for a net violation, giving Nebraska the serve. Kuhn swung for match point but recorded an error, making the score 29-28. Moster then recorded two straight hitting errors allowing Nebraska to take the game, 31-29.
The Yellow Jackets will play their fourth consecutive ranked opponent against No. 25 Wisconsin Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the first match of the Georgia Tech Invitational at O’Keefe Gymnasium. -30-