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Yellow Jacket Roundup: Hyatt Regency Two, Electric Boogaloo

It’s déjà vu all over again at the O’Keefe Gymnasium.

Even this picture is from last week!
Georgia Tech Athletics/Danny Karnik

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - “Oh boy! It’s the Hyatt Regency Invitational! Can’t wait to watch Georgia Tech play Idaho State, Winthrop, Abilene Christian, and Georgetown!”
[checks notes]
“...well, this is awkward.”


Turns out that was last week. As the ever-astute readership of our bastion of spelling and capitalization probably realizes, Tech volleyball has already been in action for a week, capturing the Hyatt Regency Invitational in the opening tournament on the Flats. And, since that’s really the only non-revenue action on the Flats this week, this week we’re back at O’Keefe for a pair of doubleheaders in the eerily similarly-named Hyatt Regency Tournament.

Schedule Releases:

Softball - The thing about fall softball is that the opponent really doesn’t matter all that much. Tech has five home dates in six weeks against schools that, suffice it to say, they won’t see again in the spring. The sixth game is on the road in Chattanooga, a Division I school. Tech should win all six, but that’s the point. Get warm. Learn to play together. Win some nice games.

Men’s Golf - No qualms. Same old, same old, and the old was working just fine.

Women’s Tennis - See men’s golf. These programs regularly challenge themselves and face quality competition early and often, and, critically, in the non-conference schedule.

Cross Country - They only run three regular season meets, and, when considering there are between one and three postseason Last year they had five, but the competition seems a little stiffer this year, and the much longer trip up to Jamaica Plains to preview the ACC Championship course is draining but might pay off at the end of the year. Time will tell.

Swimming and Diving - This one is the most intriguing. Though the schedule egregiously misses Tech’s biggest rival, the school in Athens, and only has a couple of ACC meets, though some feature more than one team. In better news, Auburn and South Carolina are quality local opposition, and the Denver Pioneers, whose men’s team resides next to Tech’s in the mid-20s of the national rankings, come to visit. Though NAIA SCAD remains on the schedule, it is no longer a dual meet, and there are no Division II and III teams, thank goodness. Swimming against teams that aren’t fluff is a plus come championship season, and a better slate of invitationals and the ACC-B1G Challenge helps, too. But will we win any of them? Time will tell.


Volleyball

Thursday, August 30th: Georgia Tech (5 - 0) sweeps Alabama State (3 - 2), 25-11, 25-16, 25-17 (3 - 0).

Thursday, August 30th: Georgia Tech (6 - 0) holds off Wofford (2 - 3), 25-10, 23-25, 25-23, 13-25, 15-10 (3 - 2).

Friday, August 31th: Georgia Tech (7 - 0) squeaks past South Alabama (1 - 4), 25-22, 21-25, 25-21, 19-25, 15-11 (3 - 2).

Friday, August 31th: Georgia Tech (8 - 0) clinches the title against Tulane (6 - 2), 17-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-23 (3 - 1).

Considering Tech won this game in straight sets, none of which appeared to be particularly close, the game as it happened seemed a lot tighter in person. Tech started slow in all three sets, especially the second one. Mikaila Dowd, who was the reigning ACC Freshman of the Week, had a conspicuously low .286 attack percentage, but the rest of the team was fairly solid. Taking their thirteenth set in a row to clinch the match in a speedy 68 minutes, but the Jackets attacked at a .364 clip for the match and they ultimately won the match by a fair margin despite the less-than-assertive play to begin sets.

Tech’s winning streak was snapped in the second set of their second match of the tournament, when they fell to Wofford 25-23 after coming out of the gate absolutely on fire in the first set. That made the latter set all the more surprising when a well-placed timeout gave Wofford the momentum shift they needed to take the win. The third set was a close affair as well, and the Jackets won what was essentially a reverse of the ending of the prior set with kills from Dowd and Kodie Comby. Tech was essentially out of the fourth set from the very beginning after Wofford took the first nine points. However, Tech took care of business in the tiebreak, with both of Wofford’s timeouts proving ineffective and volleyball spiritually winning this one for the men’s basketball team.

Looking rusty early against Alabama State was fine - it eventually gave way to a pretty solid sweep. Even Wofford, with their two wins, was explainable. But getting taken to a decisive fifth set against South Alabama, ye of one solitary, lonely win, and looking like the worse team in the process? That’s not great. Don’t make the mistake - Tech looked excellent in the first weekend of competition and fine once they warmed up. But in front of a crowd that was mostly South Alabama fans - ones that were outsized in their rowdiness - they didn’t look their best. However, all of that was for naught in the end as Tech overcame negative attacks from freshman Matti McKissock and sophomore Cori Clifton and a much less effective attack than usual from the freshmen sensations Dowd and Mariana Brambilla (which, for the record, is a very fun name to say). Sparing the details, Tech eventually won, as they should have, and the boisterous South Alabamans went home disappointed.

Tech was cursed to yet another slow start in the opening set of the their final match against Tulane. The first set was suboptimal, but the crowd had hardly shown up yet and Tech was playing a 6-2 Tulane team, one of the better sides they’ve seen since the Auburn exhibition. The second set was closer, with Dowd, Comby, and Grace Rigsbee adding a few key kills. The last tie of the set came at 22-22 when Tulane committed back to back errors and a kill from Rigsbee took it for Tech. In the third, Tech trailed most of the set, yet kept it close. Tulane got just two points from victory, but as we’ve learned so often, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, and Tech took five straight points to take the advantage. For what seems the first time in forever, the Jackets jumped right out to an early lead and Brambilla played fantastically out of the gate. Both her and Dowd found the form they had been striving to get to all weekend, and after a kill from Dowd and five straight match points, another kill from the Naperville freshman sealed Tech’s second tournament win of the season.

This weekend: Tech heads to the Hampton Inn Bama Bash in Tuscaloosa to play Northern Illinois, Alabama, and Marshall.


This Week on the Flats:

BOLD for home, REGULAR for away, ITALIC for time and location

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: OFF

Wednesday: OFF

Thursday: OFF

Friday:

Volleyball vs. Northern Illinois (Hampton Inn Bama Bash)
12:00 PM, Tuscaloosa, AL, WREK 91.1

Volleyball @ Alabama (Hampton Inn Bama Bash)
7:00 PM, Tuscaloosa, AL, WREK 91.1

Golf @ Carpet Capital Collegiate
All day, Rocky Face, GA

Saturday:

Football @ South Florida
12:00 PM, Tampa, FL, ABC / ESPN2 and Georgia Tech Football Radio Network

Volleyball vs. Marshall (Hampton Inn Bama Bash)
TBA, Tuscaloosa, AL, WREK 91.1

Cross Country @ Bulldog Invitational
8:30 and 9:15 AM, Athens, GA

Golf @ Carpet Capital Collegiate
All day, Rocky Face, GA

Sunday:

Golf @ Carpet Capital Collegiate
All day, Rocky Face, GA