Volleyball sweeps two more in second straight road set

Tech volleyball closed out a strong four-game road trip with a pair of sweeps over the weekend. The Jackets took down Boston College 3-0 (25-20, 25-18, 25-19) on Friday night and topped Maryland 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-18) on Saturday, improving to 18-7 overall and 12-3 in the ACC. In the process, Tech took the season series against each of the two teams, two matches to none.

The Jackets were locked in a back-and-forth battle against the Eagles in the first set of Friday’s match at Chestnut Hill, Mass. Neither team led by more than three as they fought to a 15-15 tie.

B.C. pulled ahead on a blocking error by sophomore outside hitter Bailey Hunter, but Tech rebounded to take seven of the next eight points. Senior middle blocker had a kill and a service ace over that stretch as Tech took a 22-17 lead. The Jackets went on to take the set 25-19 and take the early lead in the match.

Tech had an easier time in set number two, building an early lead and cruising to a set victory. Three of Tech’s first six points came via Hunter kills, and the sophomore notched eight kills in the set as Tech took the set 25-18 and went ahead two sets to none.

In the final set, Tech took advantage of three consecutive B.C. attack errors and back-to-back Mead kills as part of a 6-0 run that put the Jackets ahead 8-4. Tech led by no fewer than three points for the rest of the match, and senior outside hitter DeMichelis picked up five kills in the set as the Jackets clinched the match with a 25-19 victory.

Hunter, who had a streak of 18 consecutive games with 10-plus kills earlier this season, led the Jackets with 13 kills. She also had two solo blocks and hit .440 on the day.

DeMichelis had 10 kills and freshman rightside hitter Monique Mead had 12 kills and six digs. Sophomore outside hitter Alison Campbell had a team-high 12 digs and junior libero Jordan McCullers had nine, and junior setter Mary Ashley Tippins notched 40 assists.

The team as a whole hit .366 for the match while holding the Eagles to a .180 mark.

Saturday’s match saw Maryland jump out to an early 9-5 lead. Tech fought back to close the gap, and a 6-2 run keyed by three blocks on Maryland attacks and two Mead kills pushed the Jackets to a 17-14 lead.

Tech did not relinquish the advantage, and Hunter’s third kill of the set gave the Jackets the first set of the match, 25-20.

The second set opened with the Terrapins taking four straight points, followed by the Jackets taking the next four. Maryland gradually expanded its slim lead throughout the set, and the Terrapins led late 20-16.

Tech began to close the gap and Head Coach Tonya Johnson called a timeout with Maryland ahead 23-21. The Jackets came out strong after the brief break, and sophomore middle blocker Asia Stawicka had two kills as Tech took the final four points, winning the set 25-23.

The Jackets once again had to fight back from a deficit in the third set after Maryland opened an 8-4 lead. Johnson called a timeout at that point, and Tech went on a 7-3 run to tie the match.

The score remained close as the teams battled to a 16-16 tie, but the Jackets pulled away after that point. Mead had three kills to spark an 8-1 run that gave Tech a big lead, and a DeMichelis kill shortly afterward ended the match as Tech took the final set 25-18.

Mead and Hunter had 11 and 10 kills, respectively, to lead the attack. Hunter hit .500 for the match, and Tech as a team hit .337 compared to Maryland’s .149.

Stawicka had four block assists, Tippins contributed 36 assists and McCullers had 15 digs.