Photo by John Nakano

Balance, many would say, is the key to success. Though it may be hard for some to find, Tech volleyball makes finding balance look easy. The volleyball squad has mastered a balance between old and new, with a lineup packed tight with talented younger students who have meshed well with experienced upperclassmen. This union of players both fresh and seasoned has been conducive to successful play, leading the team to one of the hottest starts in recent memory. The Jackets are 15-9 after defeating the 10-13 Boston College Eagles on the Nov. 1, a rematch of a September game that also saw Tech
victorious, 3-2.

Head coach Michelle Collier explained that she was happy with the balance she saw on the court during the match.

“It was great to see our offense more balanced,” Collier said. “I felt like both serving and passing were good and consistent, and we were able to distribute the ball and also to dig a lot of balls.”

The Eagles were no pushovers, giving Tech stiff competition in each of the four games played. The first set looked like it was going to end tied as each team traded points and brought the score to 26-26. In the last moments of the set, however, sophomore outside hitter Ashley Askin and junior middle blocker Annika Van Gunst brought in two points
for a Jacket victory to bring them the initial lead.

The Jackets started game two with less vigor, trailing behind the Eagles for most of the first half.

After a fight to bring the game to 18-18, Tech gained momentum and scored four unanswered points to go up 22-18. The Eagles rallied to keep game two just as close as the first, splitting the next few points. The Jackets were up by one point and feared a second set tie when junior outside hitter Teegan Van Gunst brought in the match winning point with a kill, one of the 19 kills she tallied during the match. After two hard-fought sets against the Eagles, Tech went into the break with
a 2-0 lead.

Boston College entered the third set with hopes of a comeback, quickly jumping to a four point lead on the Jackets. Tech eventually found some traction in the third set, but not soon enough to bring their total lead to 3-0. With another close score of 25-23, the Eagles brought their deficit to a single set and got some momentum behind them.

Game four proved to be another nail-biter. Tech came out with a renewed sense of urgency and gained a three point lead early in the set, but the Eagles fought back to bring the score up to a 10-10 tie. Continuing to trade points, the teams brought the score to a tie six times during the fourth set. After winning the last 16 straight matches against the Eagles, the Jackets had no intention of giving up such a hard fought battle. A team effort secured a fourth set victory of 25-20 and a 3-1 overall match victory for the Jackets.

With another victory under their belt, the Jackets prepare to take on Duke this evening.  Tech fans are hoping the home advantage is enough to gain a win against the Duke Blue Devils, No. 7 in ACC volleyball.

“I’m proud of their resilience on the road, and I am looking forward to next week as we focus on continuing our improvement both as individuals and as a team,” Collier said after the match. “There is still so much room for growth, and we need to be a better team by Friday when we face Duke.”

Improvement may seem like a tall order for a Jacket team that saw five players with ten or more kills this Sunday, but it is beginning to seem that anything is possible under coach Collier. With a team so young, it will be interesting to see how they fare against the 12-10 Duke Blue Devils as they move closer and closer towards postseason play.