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Yellow Jacket Roundup: Highway Robbery

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There’s a certain glaring absence from the NCAA Volleyball Tournament bracket this morning.

Us too, Mariana, us too.
Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics


Volleyball

Tech (21-8) finishes with another sweep of Miami (10-15) 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-18)

Oh, this one stings. Sure I could talk about the game, but it was another solid sweep of the same okay Miami team we saw a couple weeks ago. You’ve heard about them and, really, the storylines were no different in this match, at least as far as gameplay is concerned. The Jackets, though, as you well know, did have a certain extra motivator this past week. After finishing the season on a five game winning streak, and having locked down wins in fourteen of their previous fifteen matches, good for finishing alone in second place in the ACC, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets were denied a spot in the NCAA tournament. Their RPI, though sort of pedestrian at 56 in the country, still puts them among the 64 teams most deserving of a berth. Not only that, but a critical early loss or two could have easily been avoided had Mariana Brambilla not been out, and the Jackets had certainly been playing their best volleyball down the stretch. In those fourteen games that comprised the second half of the year, the Jackets lost to only one opponent, then-no. 2 Pittsburgh, in a five set affair that ended with the score 15-13. Tech literally could not have been any closer to a victory. They were the only team that gave Pitt even a whiff of challenge. In 2016, Tech was similarly slighted by the committee, when they finished 24-8. Tech’s second place finish this season is their best since 2004, when they swept the conference en route to the automatic bid. Sure, the NIVC will be where the Jackets fall, as the next highest ACC team outside the tournament, but they deserved far better than this. Tech was better than Notre Dame, Florida State, and Louisville, who all leapfrogged Tech to secure spots in the Big Dance. This was an exciting and electric young team, anchored by a senior that really came into her own in her final season in the form of Kodie Comby. They did everything they were asked to do to close the season. And it still wasn’t enough for the selection committee to pick them. They had their best ACC season in fifteen years. They beat two of the three teams below them, including one in a sweep, and gave the best team on their schedule all they could handle. They deserved better than what they got.

I’ll save the rest of my rant about the NCAA’s bias against Tech for another time, but they would have been an extremely tough out in the tournament. For them to not even get that chance is a travesty in which I cannot even begin to express my disappointment.

This week: ...hmmph...

Women’s Basketball

Tech (5-0) defeats Seton Hall (4-3) 79-54
Tech (5-1) is edged by Rutgers (6-1) 46-43

It seems that Seton Hall is a familiar opponent for Tech in these holiday tournaments, for some reason. Tech headed out to the Bahamas to face them once more this year in the Junkanoo Jam. The game was a close affair to start, but, by the fourth quarter, Tech was pouring on points, outscoring their opponents 28-13 in the final frame. It is no surprise that Tech’s offense came alive in the second half when Francesca Pan started to find her groove, as it so often has the past few seasons with her at the helm. In the end, it was plenty for Tech, who won by 25. The Jackets got a second game in the islands, though, when they faced Rutgers later on during the weekend. The Scarlet Knights were a worthy opponent, currently sitting at 29 in national RPI, and they proved effective at limiting Tech across the board. However, Tech’s defense was resolute as well, and the two teams combined for just 89 points. In the end, though, it was Rutgers who was able to claw to a slight lead when the final buzzer sounded. Lorela Cubaj was probably the best player between the two games - she was named to the all-tournament team - but, despite the loss, the team showed up well against a very solid opponent. So there’s no cause for concern. The Jackets handled the team they should’ve and punched above their weight in their hardest matchup yet this season. That’s something to hang your hat on, to say the least.

This week: Tech returns to the United State of America and the Flats to host Wisconsin and Kennesaw State back in regular season play.


For football coverage:

ouch

For basketball coverage:

*phew*


This Week on the Flats:

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

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: OFF

Wednesday:
Swimming and Diving hosts the Toyota US Open Winter National Championships
All day, McAuley Aquatic Center

Men’s Basketball vs. Nebraska (ACC-Big Ten Challenge)
7:15 PM, McCamish Pavilion, ESPNU and the IMG Georgia Tech Radio Network (680 AM / 93.7 FM in Atlanta)

Thursday:
Swimming and Diving hosts the Toyota US Open Winter National Championships
All day, McAuley Aquatic Center

Women’s Basketball vs. Wisconsin (ACC-Big Ten Challenge)
7:00 PM, McCamish Pavilion, ACC Network Extra and WREK 91.1 FM

Friday:
Swimming and Diving hosts the Toyota US Open Winter National Championships
All day, McAuley Aquatic Center

Saturday:
Swimming and Diving hosts the Toyota US Open Winter National Championships
All day, McAuley Aquatic Center

Men’s Basketball vs. Syracuse
12:00 PM, McCamish Pavilion, ACC Network and the IMG Georgia Tech Radio Network (680 AM / 93.7 FM in Atlanta)

Sunday:
Women’s Basketball vs. Kennesaw State
2:00 PM, McCamish Pavilion, ACC Network Extra and WREK 91.1 FM