Underclassmen help Tech Volleyball keep rolling

Photo courtesy of Georgia Tech Athletics

The deafening roar of O’Keefe Gymnasium, home to Tech volleyball, hit an all-time high in terms of morale as the Jackets secured win No. 700 in the program’s Division I history. The stretch of wins began back in 1983, when Coach Mary Ann Ingram led the Jackets against Mercer. This most recent win came against Lipscomb during the Hyatt Regency Invitational, following a loss earlier in the week to Kennesaw State.

The team kicked off the 2019 season with the annual Gold/White scrimmage, where Tech players face off against one another, giving four freshmen — Julia Bergmann, Paola Laborda, Erin Moss and Grace McIntosh — the opportunity to show off their skills. Bergmann posted her first official double-double with the team, which, along with 12 kills and 15 digs, sets her apart from the rest of her class.

Prior to the start of the official season, Tech traveled to Auburn for an exhibition match. Tech and Auburn were evenly matched via RPI at the end of last season, so it came as no surprise that the matches went back and forth. After Auburn took the first two sets, the Jackets fought back to win the third; however, the fourth went 25-16 in favor of Auburn, finishing off Tech with a loss.

The Jackets then hosted the Georgia Tech Invitational with match ups against Long Beach State, Southern University and UNC Asheville. The team won 3-1 over Long Beach State after getting the momentum started early with a win in the first set. The Jackets then proceeded to sweep the last two teams, winning 3-0 in both games. Bergmann continued to stand out, while teammates such as Moss and Mikaila Dowd also stood out.

Next was the Hyatt Regency Invitational, in which the Jackets played against IUPUI for the first time. Tech came away with a win against the Jaguars, 3-0, following a 3-1 win the night before against the Lipscomb Bisons.

Underclassmen like Bergmann and middle blocker Moss have lent significant time and scoring to the Jackets even though the season is still young. Bergmann earned Invitational MVP honors with 44 kills, 37 digs and eight service aces after putting up 17 kills against Kennesaw, and continued to roll against Lipscomb with her third double-double of the season, with 19 kills and 13 digs.

Bergmann has led the team in kills in every match this season, which serves her well as she moves up in individual rankings. However, she was not alone as sophomore outside hitters Mariana Brambilla and Dowd joined her with double-digit kills during the Invitational. Dowd marked her second double-double of the season thus far. Additionally, Matti McKissock recorded a career-high 53 assists to surpass the 1,000 assist mark as a member of the Tech team. She is one of only 13 players to have done so with the Jackets.

The lone upperclassman who has been making an appearance on a regular basis on the stats sheet has been senior middle blocker Kodie Comby, but seniors Emily Becker, Coral Kazaroff, Lexi Dorn and Simone Spencer serve not just as players, but leaders of this Tech volleyball team. Between the experience of these five women paired with the clear prowess of the underclassmen, it appears that head coach Michelle Collier has a great group to work with this season. The Jackets will take on the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns at the OU Nike Invitational on Friday, Sept.13 before facing Arizona State and Oklahoma during the same trip. ACC play opens during the weekend of Sept. 27.