ATLANTA, GEORGIA - To study or not to study? To be quite honest, that’s not actually a question. And for our student-athletes, my peers, who have to be playing basketball, swimming in a dang national championship, or playing volleyball in a tournament you maybe shouldn’t even be in in the first place - narratives of the NCAA be [Duran Duran]ed - your unique struggles are perhaps not understood by the rest of us, but we can hope for the best on the court, and, even more importantly, off of it. Good luck.
Tech (22-8) annihilates hapless Alabama A&M (17-15) 3-0 (25-8, 25-7, 25-15)
Tech (23-8) handles Troy (-) 3-1 (-25, 25-, 25-, 27-25)
57 minutes is all it took for Tech to hand their guests from Alabama a swift trip back across the state line on Friday night, and there’s really not much more to the actual gameplay than that. Allowing myself to quote ramblinwreck.com for this sweet stat, “Tech recorded a season-high hitting percentage of .545, good for fourth in program history and sixth in the NCAA this season.” That’s pretty dang good, especially when you consider Tech hardly let their opponent even score enough points to win a single set let alone come anywhere near winning a match. This was barely a fair fight. There was no time to sub in the first set, since they hardly made it through a rotation, as per ramblinwreck.com again, another mind-boggling concept. The Jackets were, however, able to get some bench players into the action in the third, which is a good thing for a team that is pretty reliant on its starters, especially the past few weeks. In game two, Tech started off shaky, yielding the first set to Troy, before turning on the jets to take three sets. Even though the fourth set needed extra volleyball to determine a winner, it was still a convincing win over another team below Tech’s talent level.
Since the next game comes at an unknown time, in an unknown place, against the winner of High Point and Liberty, it was good to at least get two more games in in O’Keefe, considering Tech has had quite a lot of success in there over the years. Update, I was too productive and wrote this too early. Tech hosts Liberty Tuesday night at 7pm. We’re headed back to O’Keefe. And, since the quarterfinals are the next round, that means that Tech is one of the last eight teams remaining. Three more and then it’ll be time to raise the Spite Banner™. I’m here for it. Let’s get that natty.
To be quite honest, I think it’s really weird that we have no idea when or where Tech will play next. But they’ll play...someone! Sometime! Wait, nope, it’s Liberty. Tuesday night. 7pm. O’Keefe. Be there! Be loud!
Tech (6-1) shuts down ‘Sconny (5-3) 60-41
Tech (7-1) takes care of Kennesaw State on the road (5-4) 63-47
Tech was back to their winning ways on Thursday night against Wisconsin in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Jackets never really faltered after taking a large 12 point lead early in the first half, despite allowing the Badgers to close back within seven into halftime. Tech once again came out of the gates on fire in the second half, scoring ten unanswered points to put themselves comfortably in the driver’s seat. From there, all they needed to do was to hold the Badgers at bay, and, despite again letting their guests get back in shooting distance, they were able to put the pedal back down and peel out to a nice nineteen point victory. Five Yellow Jackets had at least eight points on the night in a balanced scoring barrage, and Tech was able to share the ball well in victory against a strong opponent. On Sunday, the Jackets were uncharacteristically flat out of the gates before righting the ship. Kennesaw State was able to pull away to a 13-7 lead by the end of the first quarter, but the Jackets were hot on their heels with a strong performance from Jasmine Carson off the bench. They entered halftime with the slimmest of leads, sitting at one point. In the second half, Lotta-Maj Lahtinen started off on fire, on her way to her best performance in her young career on the Flats. Her ten points were the catalyst for Tech finally being able to pull away from the Owls. From there, Tech was comfortable, finishing with a 16 point road victory against Kennesaw State.
This week: Tech is at rest for finals until next Sunday, a matinee against ETSU.
This weekend is one of my favorite epitomes of why swimming is quietly a very interesting sport. With the US Open National Championships at McAuley Aquatic Center this year, Tech was in a unique position to capitalize in having the very best swimmers in the world on its doorstep. Of course, with the best in the world in town - think Katie Ledecky, Ryan Lochte, Chase Kalisz, Simone Manuel - it also meant that, well, a lot of times it’s harder to see good if you’re not seeing first, second, and third place finishes.
Absolutely the best swim of the weekend was Caio Pumputis’ 200 IM in the prelims on Thursday. His 2:00.09 swim put him as the fourth seed in the A final of the event. This meant he was swimming next to the all-around best men’s swimming recruit out of high school since Lochte or Michael Phelps in the form of Carson Foster out of Ohio, who will be headed to Austin to swim for Texas next fall. And it also meant the Lochte was right next to him, too. With Chase Kalisz of some school in Athens rounding out a star-studded field, it was disappointing to see Pumputis fall to eighth. But, it was against perhaps the best competition this side of the US Olympic Trials meet every four years in Omaha.
Also of note, a couple recruits, namely Justin Alderson out of central Illinois was in town and had a nice showing in the prelim events he was in, while Rodrigo Correia, a recent Tech alum, swam a beautiful 50 Freestyle to land himself in the C final of the 50 free after just out-touching a swim-off for the right to take a second swim in the night flight. Again, Tech swimmers, and really swimmers in general, of all strokes were in Atlanta this past weekend, and the high production values and festival-like atmosphere made for some of the best atmosphere from McAuley since 2018’s CCS National Championships or TYR Pro Series meets.
This week: Tech is off for finals and then will be jetting off to Hawaii for their training trip, but have a couple recruits in town for the Speedo Junior Nationals, also at the McAuley Aquatic Center.
Track and Field
So, interestingly, this event wasn’t on the athletic calendar last week when Yellow Jacket Roundup went to press, but Tech headed up to Clemson to start the indoor track and field season, as they usually do, this past weekend. Bria Matthews, a Tech stalwart in the long jump, finished only in second, but was topped by fellow Yellow Jacket Taylor Grimes in perhaps Tech’s top event of the day.
This week: Time for finals!
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This Week on the Flats:
BOLD for home, REGULAR for away, ITALIC for time and location
Volleyball hosts Liberty in the NIVC Quarterfinals
7:00 PM, O’Keefe Gymnasium, ACC Network Extra and WREK 91.1 FM
Men’s Basketball at Kentucky
5:00 PM, Lexington, KY, The Worldwide Leader in Sports and the IMG Georgia Tech Radio Network (680 AM / 93.7 FM in Atlanta)
Women’s Basketball vs. East Tennessee State University
2:00 PM, McCamish Pavilion, ACC Network Extra and WREK 91.1 FM