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Georgia Tech Volleyball: Previewing the ACC Slate

Six teams made it to the Big Dance last year. Tech plays 8 of its 18 ACC games against them.

Serving it up. Funny.
Georgia Tech Athletics/Danny Karnik

With the non-conference schedule rapidly fading into the background, now seems to be as good of a time as ever to take a look at the state of the conference and what to expect from the other fourteen teams in the conference.

Tech enters the conference season with the most rip-roaring success they’ve seen in a little while. After getting out to their best start since 2003, beginning the season on an 8-0 hot streak before succumbing to a 1-2 weekend in Tuscaloosa without their star freshman Mikaila Dowd, the Jackets recently closed up their toughest weekend of competition yet with two wins over Southeastern Conference foes. Like always, those mean more. Yes, that joke will be abused until the end of time.

This morning, on the day Tech takes on Syracuse in New York to open the season, From the Rumble Seat will take a look at just how the other fourteen teams in the conference have faired thus far. For an updated look at the current conference standings, click here. I’ll run down the list as it stands today.

Non-Conference Volleyball Standings

School Overall Winning Percentage Home Record Away Record Neutral Record
School Overall Winning Percentage Home Record Away Record Neutral Record
Pittsburgh 11-0 1.000 8-0 1-0 2-0
Georgia Tech 11-2 0.846 10-0 0-2 1-0
Boston College 10-2 0.833 4-0 6-2 0-0
Virginia Tech 9-3 0.750 7-2 2-1 0-0
Clemson 9-4 0.692 3-0 6-4 0-0
Duke 6-3 0.667 3-3 3-0 0-0
Louisville 7-4 0.636 4-1 3-3 0-0
NC State 6-4 0.600 5-4 1-0 0-0
Notre Dame 6-4 0.600 5-2 0-2 1-0
Miami 4-3 0.571 3-3 1-0 0-0
Syracuse 4-4 0.500 2-3 2-1 0-0
North Carolina 4-5 0.444 3-3 1-2 0-0
Wake Forest 5-7 0.417 5-7 0-0 0-0
Florida State 4-6 0.400 3-1 1-5 0-0
Virginia 4-6 0.400 3-4 1-2 0-0

No. 9 Pittsburgh

Record: 11 - 0
2017 ACC Record: 18 - 2
Summary: Simply put, Pittsburgh should win this conference again this year. They’re off to a tremendous start and show no signs of slowing down. The other fourteen teams all pegged them as the team to beat in the conference in the preseason poll and the Panthers have put their team to work already, defeating all eleven challengers thus far, including no. 13 Washington and no. 15 Cal Poly. They’re good. Tech faces them twice - a home and home - with the first matchup coming in early November. There is much to do until then.

Georgia Tech

Record: 11 - 2
2017 ACC Record: 8 - 12
Summary: Tech had a down year last year, to be sure. It was the first year after losing the transcendent talents of the Van Gunst twins, but it didn’t take Tech too long to reload. Though they were picked tenth in the preseason poll, with lanky stellar Kodie Comby now a junior, and armed by a pair of freshmen, Mikaila Dowd and Mariana Brambilla, that have taken home three ACC Freshman of the Week awards between the two of them, and supplemented by even more young talent and transfers, the Jackets are off to their best start in a decade in a half. They defeated their Athenian archrivals, a well-regarded team in their own right, though their schedule has thus far been soft, falling to the only ranked team they’ve faced, Alabama, though that was on the road and lacking Dowd.

Boston College

Record: 10 - 2
2017 ACC Record: 4 - 16
Summary: Picked to finish dead last in the conference, this is probably the most flukey team on this list. They didn’t pick up much of note to add to a team that wasn’t too great last year, and they have played no one of particular interest thus far this season. They’ve lost to Northeastern and Harvard, who aren’t particularly scary, but do have the home court advantage this weekend against Tech. This is their only matchup this season.

Virginia Polytechnic and State University

Record: 9 - 3
2017 ACC Record: 4 - 16
Summary: Though Boston College was very flukey, VPISU isn’t far behind them. Unlike Boston College, they haven’t avoided all hard teams thus far, but they did get swept by no. 19 Baylor in their one chance against a ranked team thus far. The Hokies finished weakly last year down the stretch in a conference that, truth be told, isn’t the strongest volleyball conference in the nation. The Jackets get their crack against the team from Blacksburg early in October when the Hokies pay a visit to O’Keefe Gymnasium.


Record: 9 - 4
2017 ACC Record: 2 - 18
Summary: While Boston College may have been picked to finish dead last in the conference this year, Clemson is the reigning occupant of that illustrious title. Though some improvement is to be expected - they picked up a could new faces and some more preseason buzz - they, too, haven’t faced very many teams. Their losses are to Tulane, whom Tech beat, Kennesaw State, a sweep by rival South Carolina, and East Tennessee State. The latter was going to earn them a massive tease from me, but apparently ETSU received votes last week in the AVCA Coaches Poll, so I will eat my shoe. The Tigers come to Atlanta the first weekend of October.


Record: 6 - 3
2017 ACC Record: 11 - 9
Summary: Duke was decent last year. They’ve had three games either cancel or postpone so far this year, including what would have been a third matchup against North Carolina, if played, for whatever reason. Two of their three losses came against BYU, which was surprising, until once again the handy AVCA Poll was consulted. Brigham Young is the top ranked team in the country. They swept Cincinnati, a decent team, but lost to ETSU. Looks to be a similar year for the Blue Devils, who Tech plays on the road while our football team hosts theirs on homecoming weekend.


Record: 7 - 4
2017 ACC Record: 18 - 2
Summary: Louisville, co-champions of the conference last year with Pittsburgh, is the only other team in the league to receive votes thus far in the year. They’ve taken on no. 11 Florida and no. 14 Southern California, as well as no. 16 Purdue and no. 20 Kentucky. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, they’ve lost all four of their matchups against ranked teams, though they pushed Purdue to five sets on the road in West Lafayette. They, too, look to be as good as they were last year, and will be another tough out for Tech. Of course, just like Pittsburgh, the Jackets face them twice this year, in the next O’Keefe home game, where the Jackets are undefeated this year, and as the final game of the conference season on Thanksgiving week.

North Carolina State

Record: 6 - 4
2017 ACC Record: 15 - 5
Summary: The Wolfpack had a nice season last year, making a surprisingly deep run into he NCAA bracket as one of the six conference teams that made the field. They’ve started off this season shakier, however, tripping up four times, twice against ranked teams, no. 22 Washington State and no. 10 Creighton, with the other two being a sweep by the Athenians in Atlanta last weekend and a shocking loss to Utah Valley. They have, however, beaten Arkansas, 3-2, and were picked to finish tied for seventh in the conference.

Notre Dame

Record: 6 - 4
2017 ACC Record: 12 - 8
Summary: Notre Dame also made the bracket last year, after finishing fifth in the conference. They were pegged to move up this year by the coaches, into the fourth place spot, but have played a mixed bag thus far. In three opportunities against ranked teams, they have fallen three times, once at no. 16 Purdue, as well as both sides of a home-and-home against no. 18 Michigan. Their fourth loss was a five set squeaker against Westermn Kentucky. Tech gets them at home on opening weekend of conference play in the Sunday after this one.


Record: 4 - 3
2017 ACC Record: 15 -5
Summary: The Hurricanes were pegged to finish seventh this year after making last year’s postseason tournament. Their non-conference schedule was light, with only nine games before two against LIU-Brooklyn were cancelled. Instead, the Hurricanes come into the season with not much under their belts, and having lost three times, a five set showdown with Missouri, and sweeps at the hands of vaunted Towson and Florida Gulf Coast. The season might not go the way the ‘Canes expect if they keep laying eggs against the teams that they’re supposed to beat. Tech heads to Coral Gables for the midpoint of the season in the waning days of October.


Record: 4 - 4
2017 ACC Record: 12 - 8
Summary: Syracuse was part of a logjam of teams to finish between 12 - 8 and 11 - 9 last year in the middle of the conference. Fittingly, they were pegged for ninth in the conference in the preseason poll, once again right in the thick of things. They’ve managed to beat all the teams they’re supposed to so far, with the exception of a loss to Iowa on Iowa State’s court. The three losses I’ve failed to mention, though, were brutal. Why the Orange ventured to Milwaukee to face no. 1 BYU, no. 14 Southern California, and no. 21 Marquette, is known - they want to face good teams - but whether or not it was successful - they lost all three games - is another story. Tech gets Syracuse on the road tonight and hosts them to close their home slate on Veteran’s Day.

North Carolina

Record: 4 - 5
2017 ACC Record: 11 - 9
Summary: Like several teams above them, North Carolina is down here looking up at the likes of Boston College, VPISU, and Georgia Tech not because they are assuredly worse at this junction - the conference slate will decide it - but because they have been tested more in this young season. Like a lot of them, they haven’t been able to win any of those tests. After opening the season with back to back losses to a gaggle Cheeseheads and Gophers that have been feuding over an axe for over a century, ranked no. 6 and 7, respectively, the Tar Heels have also lost to Michigan State and Colorado, who have been receiving votes. More tellingly, they were easily handled by the Athenians in Boulder as well. Tech gets the Heels at home on the last Friday in October.

Wake Forest

Record: 5 - 7
2017 ACC Record: 5 - 15
Summary: None of their losses came against teams that were all that great, save for the one to defending national champion Nebraska. It was a hard year for them last year, and it could very well be again this year. Tech gets one game against Wake, on October 12th on the road.

Florida State

Record: 4 - 6
2017 ACC Record: 12 - 8
Summary: This team made the tournament last year. They were picked to finish third in the conference this year. Their losses, again to the pair axe-wielding northerners, as well as well-regarded Colorado State, Cincinnati and no. 11 Florida, aren’t bad. The one to Auburn stings a little, but this team has been challenged and did play solidly come conference time last year. The Jackets get Florida State in Tallahassee, a great metropolis of our times, on the 19th of October.


Record: 4 - 6
2017 ACC Record: 3 - 17
Summary: They were picked to finish second to last in the league this year, the same place they finished last season. This year isn’t off to a rip-roaring start, either, with losses coming left, right, and center, including Wednesday night as an ignominious start to their conference season. It was to defending conference champion, no. 9 Pittsburgh. Tech gets them twice, a home-and-home, both in November.

Last week, I referred to hand meeting “...whatever a volleyball is made out of...” as a nod to Al Cirado’s famous football call, “toe meets leather.” What is a volleyball made out of? Leather. Oops. Anyways, the games start at 7:00 PM tonight and 1:00 PM Sunday.

For those who wish to watch the volleyball match live, here is the link to the ACC Network Extra stream of the Syracuse game Friday and here is the stream of Sunday’s contest over at Boston College. For the hardcore, so non-revenue-that-they’re-not-even-varsity-sports fans, Tech’s most recent national champions, the club swim team, can be found live at Auburn this evening opening their championship defense and a run at a second straight title. Meanwhile, our most recent ACC champions, men’s golf, are at the Maui Jim Invitational this weekend, cross country joins volleyball in Boston, men’s tennis is in the Bahamas, and the women quickly got themselves into an unexpected tournament after both of their contests last weekend were rained out.

Enjoy the weekend of Tech sports, and perhaps watch football tomorrow at 3:30 PM as the rival Clemson Tigers roll into Bobby Dodd Stadium as Tech looks to win their sixth of the last seven against the orange wearing menace from some lake in South Carolina.