Volleyball beats Georgia, Georgia State in season opener

The Jackets’ volleyball team began the season with a 3-0 start after placing first in the Georgia Invitational last weekend. The victories came with wins over Georgia, Georgia State, and Furman. Senior Libero Michelle Kandell earned MVP honors at the tournament. In addition, freshman outside hitter Allison Campbell was named ACC Volleyball Player of the Week.

“This past weekend was very exciting and [it was] fun to go 3-0 in our first weekend in tournament play on the road. Everyone got to play and we won,” Kandell said.

In the season opener against Georgia, the freshmen powered the team to a 3-1 victory. Campbell posted a total of 20 kills while committing just six errors and led the team with a total of 22.5 points. Freshman outside hitter Bailey Hunter, freshman middle hitter Asia Stawicka and senior middle hitter Callie Miller also posted double figures in kills. Senior All-American outside hitter Talisa Kellogg missed the match against the state rival with an injury.

“I was most proud of the fact all our freshmen played great and our outside and middle hitters were full of life,” Kandell said.

The first set featured multiple lead changes but finally ended in the Jackets’ favor 33-31 with back-to-back kills by Campbell. The team picked up 22 kills in 46 total attempts. The Jackets also committed nine errors in the first set, the highest number per set in the match.

Teach also took the second set with a score of 25-22. The Jackets were able to pick up 14 points off of UGA serves. The numbers of errors was cut by over half, down to just four for the set. Georgia was able to rally in the third set by beating the Jackets 22-25, and moved the match score to 2-1, still in Tech’s favor. The Jackets closed out the match in the fourth set, beating the Bulldogs 25-22.

“As a senior, a starter and a captain, it felt amazing [to beat Georgia] on their home court. We had more fans than they did, [and] it felt great,” Kandell said.

On Sunday, the Jackets swept inter-city rival Georgia State. Hunter and Campbell provided the offense with 13 kills apiece. Meanwhile, Kandell managed the back row defense with 19 digs. Tech combined for 47 kills, against State’s 30. The Panthers were only able to reach the twenty point mark in the first set, losing the second and thirds sets with 16 and 18 points respectively.

Later on Sunday, the Jackets clinched the tournament championship with their four set win over Furman. Brittany Roderick contributed 15 kills while Stawicka edged out nine block assists during the final game. Campbell posted 18 kills and seven digs in the 3-1 win. She averaged 4.36 kills per set over the entire weekend. “I’m honored and was really surprised [to earn the MVP for the tournament]. I couldn’t have done it without my team and the coaches. They have supported me through every point,” Kandell said.