Volleyball tops Maryland, BC to move to 6-1 in ACC

Tech’s volleyball team continued ACC play over the past two weeks with four matches. For the first weekend in October the Jackets traveled to Florida, where they met Florida State on Friday and Miami on Sunday. In the team’s first match, Tech upset the No. 17 Seminoles in five sets to win 3-2 (19-25, 27-25, 15-25, 27-25, 16-14). Two days later the Jackets saw their first ACC loss of the season in Miami as the Hurricanes posted a 3-2 win (22-25, 26-24, 29-31, 27-25, 9-15).

Tech hosted two matches this past weekend as it faced Maryland last Friday and then Boston College on Saturday. The Jackets swept both opponents, winning 3-0 (25-15, 25-18, 25-22) over Maryland and then topping the Eagles 3-0 (25-16, 25-20, 25-13). With the latest wins, Tech improved to 12-5 overall and 6-1 in the ACC.

In the Jackets’ first set against Maryland, they cruised to a 25-15 win behind six kills from sophomore middle blocker Asia Stawicka. The Terrapins closed to within 5-4 early on, but Tech did not allow Maryland to win consecutive points until the very end of the set, at which point they led 24-13.

In the second set, Tech won the first three points on kills from three different players. Sophomore outside hitter Bailey Hunter had seven kills in the set, and the Jackets built an 18-8 lead as they picked up a 25-18 set victory to pull ahead 2-0 in the match.

The beginning of set three saw the Terrapins off to a strong start, as they went on a 6-1 run to build an 8-5 lead. Tech battled back, and the set was close throughout with seven lead changes. Maryland managed to open up a 22-19 lead late, but Tech rebounded to win the last six points, finishing on a Tippins service ace to take the set 25-22 and sweep the match.

Hunter had a team-high 15 kills to lead the Jackets’ attack. Stawicka and senior outside hitter Chrissy DeMichelis also had double-digit kills, and Stawicka hit .625 on the day. Junior setter Mary Ashley Tippins had 45 assists. On the defensive side, junior libero Jordan McCullers had 17 digs and freshman outside hitter Susan Carlson had nine.

Against Boston College on Saturday, Tech fell behind early in the opening set but went on a 9-2 run that included two service aces and kills by five players. The Eagles battled to within 19-16, but Tech won the final six points of the opening set to take the match.

In set number two, senior middle blocker Brittany Roderick had three early kills to help Tech open a small lead, but BC stayed close throughout. With the score tied at 13, DeMichelis and freshman rightside hitter Monique Mead helped spark Tech to pull ahead, and Hunter landed the final kill as the Jackets took the set 25-20.

Early 5-1 and 5-0 runs helped the Jackets break open a 15-8 lead in the third set, but they were unable to put the game away. The Eagles, down 23-16, ran off six straight points, but Tech took advantage of a BC attack error and pulled out a 25-23 victory to complete their second straight sweep.

Mead led the attack with 13 kills and a .524 hit percentage. She contributed on the defensive end too with four block assists and eight digs. Hunter had 12 kills as she reached the 10-kill plateau for the 14th straight game. Tippins notched 44 assists and three block assists, and McCullers recorded 15 digs in the match.

The Jackets will travel to the state of Virginia this weekend to continue ACC play. Tech will take on Virginia Tech today and then go to Charlottesville to take on Virginia tomorrow.

Tech is 10-0 at home this season and will have a chance to improve its 2-5 mark on the road, as the Jackets will be away for six of their next eight games.