ATLANTA, GEORGIA - It was a busy weekend back on the Flats for all the sports. Perhaps the busiest time of the year, barring the rush around the beginning of baseball and softball season, hope springs eternal for basketball while tennis winds up the fall slat and volleyball plays two of its final home matchups, including senior day for the graduating Lauren Frerking. To all seniors graduating - and I’ll say it again throughout the year - thank you for your four or more years on the Flats and, as always, we here at From the Rumble Seat wish you the very best wherever your post-collegiate endeavors may take you.
Sunday, November 4th: Georgia Tech (0 - 0) demolishes Coastal Georgia (0 - 0) in exhibition play, 95 - 46.
I wouldn’t write too much into it, similarly to the men’s exhibition on Saturday, but the women’s basketball team, led by a couple of excellent returners and a vaunted freshman signing class, dismantled their exhibition competition this weekend. The Jackets led early and often, including when it mattered most - the very end. The large margin is encouraging for the Jackets and it was nice to get a bunch of the newer faces into the mix. This is a team that very well could’ve had their shot at an NCAA tournament appearance, instead settling for yet another deep NIT run, and should very well get at least the opportunity to knock at the tournament door in the absolutely stacked slate of the women’s basketball landscape in the ACC. The Jackets have a bunch of the right pieces for this to be an exciting year, so be sure to head on out to McCamish to support what should be an exciting and successful year for women’s basketball.
This week: the ladies of shootyhoops take their talents to Houston for the tipoff of the 2018-2019 basketball season. They then return home to face the Appalachian State Mountaineers for their true home opener this Sunday.
Friday, November 2nd: No. 10 Pittsburgh (24 - 1) sweeps Georgia Tech (15 - 11), 25-12, 25-19, 25-19 (3 - 0).
Sunday, November 4th: Georgia Tech (16 - 11) defeats Virginia (7 - 17), 29-31, 25-17, 28-26, 25-20 (3 - 1).
The Jackets didn’t play particularly badly on Friday night, in retrospect, they just ran into the unwieldy buzzsaw that is the vaunted Pittsburgh Panthers. Tech jumped out to one of their few leads of the night early in the first set, but quickly fell behind once the score was unknotted from a 7-7 tie. They would go on to lose the first set 25-12. Though the next two sets were closer, and the Jackets indeed attacked at a nice clip in the third, it wasn’t enough to knock off a great team and the Jackets fell in three sets.
The story was different on Sunday, however, as the Jackets knocked off Virginia, far and away the worst team in the conference, to clinch a season record above .500 and move to 5-9 in conference. The Jackets have a chance to finish at 9-9 in the ACC, but that requires defeating no. 10 Pittsburgh on the road, a tall task if there ever was one. But, back in the present, the Jackets and the Cavaliers played a tight first set, seeing many lead changes, as the two teams traded points from a 14-14 tie all the way to a 24-24 tie. The guests took set point at 25-24, but Tech tied it up once more and no team could put together a two point lead until Virginia finally took the first set, 31-29. Tech found its momentum in the second set, however, and easily put away the Cavaliers 25-17 before yet another set went to extra points to decide the it. Tech won this time, though, 28-26, and followed it up with a 25-20 victory. The Jackets sit at no. 94 in the RPI rankings, probably too far out to make the tournament without an upset of Pittsburgh and winning their last three on the road, something that the Jackets have struggled to do, even against definitively worse teams like Boston College. However, the season has been a marked improvement from last year and it is exciting to see what the Jackets will do with their last four games.
This week: Tech hosts Syracuse this weekend in their final home match on the Flats of the season, when the Syracuse Orange come to visit.
The Racket Jackets hosted a bevy of opponents this weekend for the Georgia Tech Invitational. In the tournament, the Jackets had a few singles players play into the semifinals and finals of their respective draws, but the competition appeared largely pedestrian for the Yellow Jackets. Losing another two great players is appearing still rough on the Jackets who were faced with the early departure of Chris Eubanks, a man whom should have a statue constructed in his honor, or something. Men’s tennis doubles fared not too much better, but, as always, it was good to see the Jackets playing a little deeper into tournaments than they had, if at least for the experience, even if they didn’t walk away with any hardware at the end of the day.
This week: The Jackets are off until the spring competition starts anew.
Looking Ahead: Cross Country and Swimming
Four men and four women head to West Lafayette, Indiana, home of the
train people with horrifying fiberglass faces and large bass drums Purdue Boilermakers, to represent Tech swimming and diving in the inaugural ACC-Big Ten Challenge, swimming edition. The two conferences, who have long shared a basketball non-conference challenge, are bringing that excitement to swimming. The two should match up fairly evenly, with the tops of the conferences both featuring Olympic-caliber swimmers and coaches. Tech sends Iris Wang, Caio Pumputis, Rodrigo Correia, Emily Ilgenfritz, Matt Casillas, Camryn Hidalgo, Laura Branton, and Christian Ferraro, which is frankly an underrepresentation of the pleasantly surpringing no. 17 men’s swim team. However, regardless, the swims will be fast, against great competition, in a fun new challenge environment. Be sure to tune in on the Big Ten Network Saturday and Sunday for the most tried-and-true way to grab attention for the sport when it’s not Olympics, Olympic Trials, or NCAA Championships: good, old-fashioned spectacle for the sake of spectacle.
Additionally, the other surprise team of the season, the women’s cross country team, will be back in action this weekend at the NCAA Regional meet. The women and the men head down to the swamplands of the panhandle of Florida in the shadow of Doak Campbell to run against the best teams from the region. Look for the teams to come out angry after disappointing runs up at the ACC Championships to kick off your Friday right in anticipation of the nice little slate of games we have to consume this weekend.
Oh, and by the way, the football game is a whiteout. In case you didn’t here. And it’s at night. What a world.
For Football Coverage:
For Men’s Basketball Coverage:
This Week on the Flats:
BOLD for home, REGULAR for away, ITALIC for time and location
Cross Country @ NCAA South Regional Championships
8:30 AM (W) and 9:30 AM (M), Tallahassee, FL
Men’s Basketball vs. Lamar
7:30 PM, McCamish Pavilion, ACC Network Extra and the Georgia Tech IMG Basketball Radio Network (WCNN 680 AM / 93.7 FM Atlanta)
Women’s Basketball @ Houston
8:00 PM, Houston, TX, WREK 91.1
Football vs. Miami
7:00 PM, Bobby Dodd Stadium, ESPN2 and the Georgia Tech IMG Football Radio Network (WCNN 680 AM / 93.7 FM Atlanta)
No. 17/NR Swimming and Diving @ ACC-Big Ten Challenge
5:00 PM, West Lafayette, IN, Big Ten Network to Go
No. 17/NR Swimming and Diving @ ACC-Big Ten Challenge
10:00 AM, West Lafayette, IN, Big Ten Network
Volleyball vs. Syracuse
1:00 PM, O’Keefe Gymnasium, ACC Network Extra and WREK 91.1
Women’s Basketball vs. Appalachian State
2:00 PM, McCamish Pavilion, ACC Network Extra and WREK 91.1