The Tech volleyball team split their matches last weekend in the state of North Carolina. Senior outside hitter Talisa Kellogg posted a match-high of 16 kills at both games.
Senior middle hitter Callie Miller added 11 kills while hitting .611 to aid the Jackets in their win against the North Carolina State Wolfpack. This was the Jackets’ fourth consecutive 3-0 win. Senior setter Allie Niekamp directed the offense by assisting in 31 situations and posting four kills. The defense was led by Michelle Kandell, who had a match-high of 15 digs.
Tech cruised by in the first set with a 25-12 victory, due in large part to Kellogg’s efforts. The Jackets started the match with a 5-1 run and then a 13-5 lead later in the set. The Jackets later capitalized on several North Carolina State errors for a 13-point win. After falling behind in the second set, a combination of timely serves from Allison Campbell and offense from Kellogg, Miller and Niekamp pushed the jackets to a 9-4 lead. Tech went on a 7-3 run to put the set out of reach before taking the set 25-17.
The Jackets went without a single error in the third set and it showed in the result, with Tech taking the frame 25-18. The Jackets had six kills between Kellogg and Miller and three block assists. The North Carolina Tar Heels proved to be a challenge for the Jackets. For Carolina, Lauren Prussing led the team with 13 kills and Ingrid Hanson-Tuntland had 11 kills for the Heels.
Despite the efforts of Kellogg’s offensive power and senior libero Michelle Kandell’s leadership in the back row, the Jackets fell to the Heels in four sets. Miller and DeMichelis, the leading blocker, added 14 kills apiece in the loss. In addition, Niekamp posted another double-double. The Jackets fell behind early in the first set and dropped a 25-21 decision. Tech evened up the score with a win in the second set. The Jackets trailed the Tar Heels 11-12 before going on a 10-2 run to take a 21-13 lead that would lead to a 25-17 win in the set. DeMichelis, Kellogg and Miller combined for 13 kills in the set.
The third set proved to be the turning point for both teams in the match. The Jackets endured eight ties and four lead changes before they saw the Tar Heels tie the game at 20. North Carolina took a 23-20 lead, but the Jackets pulled within a point before losing the set 25-23. The Jackets were able to keep it close in the final set as well. Tech took a 10-5 lead and kept it until the Tar Heels took it back with a point to tie it at 19-19. The Tar Heels won the next six points to win the set and the match.
The Jackets are currently tied for fourth place in the conference. There are three teams currently tied for the lead in the conference, Virginia Tech, Duke and Clemson. Miami, Tech and North Carolina are tied for fourth. With just over half of the conference schedule under the belt, Tech hopes to run the table in the second half in order put them in a favorable position for an NCAA tournament berth. The Jackets’ most recent run at the NCAA tournament was in 2004, when they lost to fourth ranked Minnesota in the Minneapolis regional. The Jackets start their run this weekend when they play Virginia Tech and Virginia in Atlanta.