After playing their first five games on the road, Tech came into the Georgia Tech Classic with a 4-1 record and had no intentions of slowing down. They were slated to host Mississippi State, Indiana, and Oklahoma. Freshman hitter Bianca Bertolino was coming off back-to-back ACC Freshman of the Week honors and junior hitter Julia Bergmann and senior hitter Mariana Brambilla were coming off All-Tournament teams.
The first game of the tournament came against Mississippi State and began in just the way the Jackets wanted as they swept the Bulldogs in straight sets. It was a dominant all around Tech win as their stars shined. They bested Mississippi State in every major statistical category.
Tech was led by strong individual performances from Brambilla, Bergmann and senior setter Matti McKissock. McKissock totaled 40 assists and eight digs. The high assist total helped her reach the milestone of 3,000 assists in the game. Brambilla had 16 kills and seven digs while Bergmann contributed another 16 kills and three aces. The exceptional performances seen by the team’s leaders helped the Jackets bring their season record to 5-1 and carry that momentum into their next game.
In the second of three games for Tech during the tournament, Tech showed a great deal of resolve. Tech committed several service errors that were a key contributor to them dropping the first set 20-25 and falling behind 1-0 in the match. In volleyball, service errors are one of the biggest self-inflicted wounds. Following an opening set loss, Tech rebounded in a big way as they won the second set 25-19, with multiple players approaching a double-double.
With the match tied at one set apiece, both sides understood the importance of winning the third set. As a result, the third set was a back-and-forth affair, but in the end, Tech was able to pull away and come out on top 25-21, taking the lead in the match two sets to one.
In the fourth set, Indiana had their backs against the wall and put Tech in an early 10-4 hole. Tech responded with a major 21-7 run to close out the match, 3-1. Bertolino, Bergmann, and Brambilla led the way, each ending the day with double-digit kills. On multiple occasions, Tech dealt with adversity in the match as they faced deficits, but each time they were able to rise back up and overcome it. This raised their overall record to 6-1 as they looked to improve that mark two nights later.
Tech closed out the Georgia Tech classic with their match against Oklahoma. It opened with a thrilling set as both teams found themselves in a back-and-forth affair with multiple rallies. Bergmann came out strong from the opening serve causing Oklahoma to frantically search for answers. However, despite Bergmann’s strong opening set, Oklahoma would still take that set after some extended play, 29-27.
Looking to rebound from a tough opening set loss, Tech jumped out to an early 11-5 lead in the second set. Oklahoma would rally back and pull within 4 at 18-14, but Tech would then go on a 7-0 run to end the set 25-14 and tie the game at one set apiece. After two sets, Bergmann was off to an incredibly fast start, nearing 20 kills for the game.
The third set began in similar fashion as the first set: multiple rallies leading to a close score. The second half of the set was all Tech dominance though, as they expanded their lead to 21-11. They eventually won the set 25-18. Both teams kept the trend going of close sets as the fourth set saw more of the back-and-forth action. The set was tied up until 21-21, but Tech finished out the match by winning the fourth and final set 25-22, bringing their season record to 7-1.
Tech’s undefeated record in the Georgia Tech classic gave them a 3-0 home record. They were tested by their opponents, but each time they responded in convincing fashion. The impressive showing led to them jumping back into the top 20 of the national rankings at number 18.
They are the third highest ranked ACC team, behind only fourth-ranked Pittsburgh and fifth-ranked Louisville. Tech looks to continue their winning streak and move up the rankings.
They are slated to finish out their non-conference schedule by traveling to North Carolina where they will take on Arkansas in a neutral site game on Sept. 16 and host Georgia on Sept. 18. Tech hopes to build off an incredible start to the season and close out their non-conference schedule before opening up their conference schedule on Sept. 24 against Wake Forest.