More surprise swimming! This time, it’s Swim Across America, which is a very good cause that I was sad to be unable to promote in this space last week. Oh well...
ATLANTA, GEORGIA — Looking ahead at this column and the upcoming week for non-revenue, there’s unsurprisingly not a ton to talk about quite yet. However, we do have one thing to look forward to this week (Cross Country in Tallahassee) and one thing to look back at (Volleyball in Miami). Across FTRS, we’ll have a more in depth look at volleyball advanced stats, BYE WEEK COVERAGE, and a Scions episode to bring you the latest from around the AA and around campus.
And I just got super distracted by the Bears playing the most Bears game possible, while the Falcons play the most Falcons game possible.
I laugh, your mileage may vary.
While some very literal dark clouds roll in over Mercedes Benz (I wish I was being hyperbolic), let’s talk non-revenue sports and see if we can guess which swimming event will surprise us with its existence next week.
Last Week on the Flats:
It was a busy long weekend for the Jackets, who got their first action of the season on Thursday and Friday in Miami. Tech has traditionally opened their season against a slate of non-conference opponents, namely low majors, and this was anything but that. The Miami Hurricanes, despite a down year last year in 2019, are traditionally a fairly solid ACC program, having qualified for the NCAA tournament in 8 of the last 11 years. Also coming off a slate of injuries that tied their 2019 squad down, the ‘Canes represented a large question mark for a team that has often struggled out of the gate to begin seasons and games in the past.
This was true from the outset of the 2020 season, too. The traditional early season warmup was replaced with a schedule that tossed Tech straight into the fire. Two sets into the first game, the Jackets stared down a two set deficit — it looked like they were caught flat-footed.
With so much of the Miami roster redshirt or true freshmen or coming off injury, in fairness to Tech, they didn’t exactly have the most to work with, either. And it was in the second intermission that Michelle Collier and her staff began making adjustments. Just as Miami had clamped down Tech in the first two sets, which the ‘Canes won 25-17 and 25-20, Tech was able to respond. As Tech settled into their usual short rotation, particularly with Maddie Tippett coming in to fill the defensive specialist roll as she has for the last three years, their play improved. Tech forced the fifth set on the back of a more effective attack and limiting errors, even managing to take a 12-9 lead in the decisive fifth set. Despite holding match point, a win was not in the cards for Tech. Miami forced some extra play, and won the fifth set 16-14 and the match 3-2.
Frankly, Tech came out flat again in the second game. The difference? They bounced back quicker. Not only did Tech play more players than usual, Matti McKissock, in particular, was nowhere really to be found after the first set. That didn’t stop the Jackets, because, between the adjustments from the night before and just generally making more plays than the night before, Tech was able to keep themselves in the game. Of course, they still needed to force a fifth set to pull out their first win of the year, but the general gut feel of the match felt a lot less “frustrating and not meeting expectations” and a lot more “okay let’s make the plays,” if that makes sense. Tech broke the 2-2 tie in the fifth set with a 15-11 win and a bye week to figure out the rest.
Ken Byers, Legend:
Clearly, this man loves Tech tennis. Starting as a student athlete on some of the Racquet Jackets’ single greatest seasons of tennis, he has toiled in blood, sweat, tears, and money for the programs that have combined to give Tech its only true NCAA title. Having already bequeathed two player scholarships and backed the construction of the tennis facility that bears his name, ten beautiful courts outside and another six indoors, now graced by a videoboard, Byers came back for another round, this time fully endowing the men’s and women’s head coaching positions.
Byers went on from his time at Tech to run a very successful engineer business, and sits in the Georgia Technology Hall of Fame. However, it is his quote on his plans for his next monetary gift that is most worth noting:
“We anticipate being called upon in a few years to help build a display structure for all the trophies and awards our teams will win.”
Bravo, Mr. Byers. He’s even already got experience in giving Tech statues — he donated the Einstein statue on Tech Green. We are all better for having you around.
Best of the Week:
This Week on the Flats:
With no Tech sports to watch on television this week, I suggest picking something up on Netflix or subscribe to a weird niche YouTube channel and watch their backlog. At least it hurts less than an interception. Or four.
So, all of this makes for a short week for the Roundup. See you on the flip side with some cross country news.
Poll of the Week:
If you had to pick one:
This poll is closed
Endow a Scholarship
Endow a Coach
Sponsor a Building
Something else (tell us below)
Got any news or updates of your own? Thoughts on volleyball? Let us know below!