FT. COLLINS, COLO. (December 2) – Despite 25 kills and 11 digs from Maja Pachale, the Yellow Jacket volleyball team fell to Colorado in four games, 15-11, 5-15, 14-16, 10-15 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Georgia Tech ends its season with a 25-8 record, while Colorado improves to 17-11 and will face the winner of tonight’s match between Colorado State and Radford.
“Obviously, I am disappointed with the end result to tonight’s match,” said head coach Shelton Collier. “I thought that game three was the key to the match. We were up 14-12 and served for game point three times, but we just couldn’t get it done. Colorado came back to take not only the game, but the momentum of the match, which then hurt us in game four.”
“Our team set several goals this season, which we were unable to accomplish, but it does feel good to be back in the NCAA Tournament,” said Collier. “We return five starters to next year’s team and an excellent recruiting class, so I expect to be back again next year and hopefully have more success.”
The Jackets jumped out to a 3-0 lead as Maja Pachale and Kyleen Bell combined for a stuff block and Pachale recorded two service aces. The Buffalos then scored two points on an error from Ida Mabry and a kill from Meghan Barkham. An ace from Alexandra Preiss gave Tech a 4-2 lead, but Colorado came right back and scored four points on two straight hitting errors from Teryl Townsend, a kill from Sonja Nielsen and an error by Bell, taking the lead 6-4. The Jackets put together points of their own on a stuff block from Mabry and Bell, as well as a kill from Mabry to tie the score at 6-6. The two teams battled back and forth with neither team holding more than a one point edge. Then, with the score 11-11, the Jackets went back and scored four straight points on a stuff block from Kele Eveland and Townsend, an ace from Preiss, a kill from Townsend and a backrow kill from Preiss to take game one, 15-11.
Game two was a different story, as the Buffalos improved their defense and served tough keeping the Jackets out of their sideout offense. Tech got on the board first with an ace from Townsend, but then gave up eight straight points to fall behind, 1-8. The Jackets then scored two points on a kill from Preiss and Townsend to narrow the deficit, 3-8. But, Colorado continued to dominate defensively and the Jackets continued to make crucial hitting errors which led to a 5-9 lead. The Bulldogs put together five straight points on two hitting errors from Townsend and two hitting errors from Preiss which increased their lead to 14-5. Colorado scored the final point of the game on a hitting error from Bell to win 15-5.
Tech came out and played much stronger in game three, taking a 6-2 lead behind kills from Townsend, Pachale and Mabry. Colorado stormed back and tied the score at 6-6 on two errors from Mabry and a reception error from Amanda Hess. But, the Jackets held their composure scoring the next four points on a stuff block from Hess and Townsend, an ace from Mabry, a kill from Hess and a block from Townsend and Eveland to take a 10-6 lead. But, the Buffalos hung in there and scored points to tie the score at 11-11. Tech then sided out and scored two straight points on back to back kills from Mabry to regain the lead 13-11. Mabry recorded an error to make the score 13-12, but the Jackets sided out and scored on a block from Townsend and Hess. The Jackets then served three times for game point, but the Buffalos continued to side out and tie the score at 14-14 on a kill from Josee Roberge. Colorado then took its only lead of the game on an error from Pachale. The Buffalos went on to win the game, 16-14, on a kill from Neilson.
With the momentum on its side, Colorado continued to play solid defense which forced the Yellow Jackets into hitting errors. Tech held an early 4-3 lead, but the Buffalos came back to take an 8-4 lead on two straight hitting errors from Mabry, a kill from Kim Taskey and Monique Gerlach and a reception error from Bell. Tech came back to decrease the deficit to 6-8 on a kill from Bell and Mabry, but Colorado came right back to score two points of its own on an ace and an error from Bell. With the score 10-8, Colorado scored the next four points on an error from Preiss, a kill and an ace from Gower, and a kill from Taskey to increase its lead to 14-8. The Jackets put together two points on two stuff blocks from Townsend to make the score 10-14, but the Buffalos scored their final point on a hitting error from Townsend to take the game, 15-10.