The Tech women’s volleyball team lengthened their winning streak to eight games after sweeping the Hyatt Regency tournament, hosted at the team’s O’Keefe Gymnasium. The team was led by first-year Mariana Brambilla, who was named both tournament MVP and ACC Co-Freshman of the Week. The freshman standout recorded two double-doubles and currently leads the team in kills and service aces. Her performance in the tournament helped cement Tech’s win with a career high 19 kills against South Alabama. The game was closer than expected, with a large, loud crowd representing the visiting team from Mobile, a five-hour drive away. However, Tech was able to overcome both the team and crowd and send the Jaguars’ fans home disappointed.
In their next game, Tulane took an early lead, but the Jackets were able to come back from a 14-7 deficit, finishing them in the third set 25-23. Junior Lexi Dorn recorded 41 assists and 10 digs, contributing to Tech’s winning effort. The volleyball team is off to a solid start this season and will get to test themselves against an undefeated Alabama this Friday. With seven freshmen on the roster, the team has received a steady amount of praise from head coach Michelle Collier, who is surely excited to have such a young, capable squad. The team is off to the best start to the season since 2016, when Tech secured a 20-win season and almost made it to the NCAA tournament. They went 24-8, going 15-5 in the ACC. The difference between then and now is that while the 2016 team was a mature unit stocked with experienced seniors, the current roster is the opposite.
There are two ways to view this situation: with optimism and concern. The first is obvious. With freshman such as Mariana Brambilla, Mikaila Dowd and Matti McKissock, it is difficult not to be excited for the future. Dowd previously earned ACC Freshman of the Week, getting 50 kills in one weekend. In her debut she got 22 kills against Idaho State. McKissock has shown to be a very dependable setter. An example of this can be seen in her 10 dig, 21 assist performance against Georgetown.
On the other hand, these talented players still lack valuable experience in conference play, and though they results have been excellent early, they will need guidance as the season wears on, the matches get tougher and fatigue grows.
The dynamic duo that is Lauren Frerking and Kodie Comby helps ensure that nothing is getting past the net. With a combined 36 swats in their first tournament, look to them for experience and excellent defense this season. Tech will need it if it wants to launch a memorable campaign; they have the makings of just that.