Volleyball opens up season on high note

Photo by John Nakano

The Jackets opened up their 2014 season 2-1 at the Gamecock Invitational after beating the Jacksonville Dolphins and the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs each 3-0. They fell to the tournament hosts, the South Carolina Gamecocks, 3-1.

Tech opened up the tournament and the season with a convincing victory over the Jacksonville Dolphins.

Senior Ashtaan Horton led the Jackets with 11 kills. Sophomore Teegan Van Gunst and senior Courtney Felinski both had nice games as well recording 10 kills each. Sophomores London Ackermann and Annika Van Gunst led the team in digs with 17 and 13, respectively.

The Dolphins came out ready to play, opening the first set with a 5-2 run. The set stayed close early on, but the Jackets were able to pull away and finish the first set with a 25-19 win.

Tech came out for the second set on fire. It started out the set on a 4-1 run. The Dolphins would close the gap and tie up the set at 4, but that is as close as the set would get. Tech went on to win it, 25-10.

The Jackets found their hands full early on in the third set. The scoring went back and forth for a while and the teams found themselves knotted up at nine.

Tech then went on a 7-1 run and found itself leading 16-10. The Jackets cruised to a 25-17 victory in the final set.

First-year Head Coach Michelle Collier was very happy with the performance.

“We were able to have a balanced offense and stay consistent with our serve and pass game. The team got better throughout the match and we finished performing at a very high level. I’m looking forward to our next matches tomorrow and our continuing progress,” said Head Coach Michelle Collier courtesy of ramblinwreck.com

Tech picked up right where it left off in its next match against Gardner-Webb. The Jackets’ T. Van Gunst looked impressive again, leading the team with 10 kills. Freshman Annika Olsen looked sharp, leading Tech with 16 digs.

It was a fast start for the Jackets in the first set, leading the Runnin’ Bulldogs early 5-2. Tech would hold on to that lead and finish the set with a 25-14 win.

Much like the first set, Tech came out firing on all cylinders in the second set, taking a commanding 8-1 lead early on.

Gardner-Webb made a run though, tying things up at 15 late in the set. However, Tech finished on a 10-6 run and won the second set 25-21.

The third set was all Tech’s once again. The set was back and forth early on, but the Jackets took care of business and won the set 25-20, therefore winning the match.

Tech found itself with their hands full against the Gamecocks in their third match of the tournament.

The Van Gunst twins found themselves having solid games in this one.

Teegan finished the match with 13 kills and Annika was right behind her with 12 of her own.

Olsen put together another fine match, recording a team leading 18 digs. It would not be enough though, as the Jackets fell, 3-1.

Tech found itself in a tight first set right from the beginning, leading at one point 19-16. The Jackets kept it close the whole time, but came up short, falling 22-25.

The Jackets looked to bounce back in the second set of the match. Tech found itself behind early in the set and was not  able to make up the deficit, losing 13-25.

Down two games to none, the Jackets knew they had to pull out a win in the crucial third set. The match was close early on, but Tech was able to put together several key runs to win the set 25-18.

Tech found itself down 11-15 against the Gamecocks in the fourth set, but went on a 6-0 run to take a late lead 17-15. It was not enough though, and the ladies  dropped the fourth set 22-25 and the match 3-1.

“South Carolina came out strong and we were unable to get them out of system with our serving,” Head Coach Michelle Collier said. “We adjusted well in the third and fourth game and got better offensively and defensively, but our serving and passing game was not at the level we [needed] it to be to win the match.”

Colliers’ finishing comments were: “Overall a great weekend. We were able to see a lot of people get playing time and we did a lot of great things as a team. Now it’s back to the gym to work hard and adjust somethings for the next tournament.”

After such a successful showing, Tech hopes to ride the momentum into their next tournament. They head to Dallas this weekend for the SMU Invitational to play matches against SMU, Oklahoma, and Texas Southern.