Tech Volleyball streaks into postseason conversation

Photo courtesy of GTAA

Tech volleyball has been on a roll as of late, and accolades for freshmen and seniors alike have followed. It seems like every headline for the squad has contained mention of new records or awards — rightfully so as the Jackets extended their wins to eight in a row thus far, with no signs of letting up. With their game against North Carolina State, the Jackets recorded their eighth-straight ACC win, topping their program-record of six-straight ACC wins — all of this while simultaneously helping head coach Michelle Collier to her 100th win with Tech, and then some. 

Collier has made her mark as the third coach in Tech history to achieve 100 wins alongside Shelton Collier and Bond Shymansky, but stresses that the credit is due to her players. After freshman outside hitter Julia Bergmann earned Invitational MVP honors earlier and the season, and senior middle block Kodie Comby was ranked No. 1 in the nation in hitting percentage, Collier has made it clear that her team has a vast range of talents to utilize. Essentially any news article about the team mentions both Bergmann’s and Comby’s achievements — the pair are emerging as stars for this Jackets squad.

The Jackets have been aided by a seemingly unstoppable group of sophomores — outside hitters Mariana Brambilla and Mikaila Dowd, setter Matti McKissock and middle blocker Kayla Kaiser. Bergmann, Comby and the group of sophomores lead the team in statistics such as kills, digs and overall points. Against NC State, Bergmann reached 11 double-doubles on the season, while teammates Dowd and Brambilla are not far behind. Brambilla set her own season-high in kills at 21 in total against the Wolfpack, while Kaiser matched her own career high in blocks with five.

The women have had success in hitting the ground running in each matchup, winning the first set of all of the past eight games except that against the University of North Carolina on November 1. For the first six games of their win streak, the Jackets swept each ACC opponent with 3-0 wins, but the last two matchups have been tighter, with Tech hanging on in both cases 3-2. This season, the team has an 11-1 record in three sets, a 3-5 record in four sets and a 2-1 record in 5 sets, making it clear that, more often than not, the Jackets get the job done in the shortest amount of time possible.

Tech continues its road conference competition against the Pittsburgh Panthers on Nov. 8 in what may be Tech’s biggest game of the season. Pitt is currently 12-0 in the conference, leading the ACC and ranking No. 2 in the nation, while Tech is seeking to top the ACC winning streak they maintained for ten games back in 2016 and are currently tied for No. 2 in the ACC with Florida State. 

Tech will then conclude their season with road games against Virginia and Miami, along with a home slate of N.C. State, Clemson, and Notre Dame. If the Jackets beat Pitt and finish the season strong against their remaining opponents — a strong possibility given their play — it would put the team in a solid position to be invited to the NCAA tournament at the end of the season, a fine finish for a talented and deserving Tech team.