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Yellow Jacket Roundup: B Relay Blues

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Swim & Dive comes down to the grand finale and gets the win, but it’s the B Relays that make the difference in the meet.

Danny Karnik / Georgia Tech Athletics

ATLANTA, GEORGIA — The Ratings Evaluation Composite Calculation is back for a second week, but this time, it includes a plot with slightly better formatting than the last edition. I’m sure everyone was on the edge of their seat about that. Anyways, like it was noted in the previous YJR, every ranking plays into the RECC score, and with new polls in the mix this week, it was natural that, despite solid play from Volleyball in particular, that there would be some movement in both directions happening in the background.

Compiled by Jake Grant

With the preseason AP Polls for basketball being released, and Tech appearing in 1 of the 2, the confidence of the overall dropped, while most other movement came out in the wash, as the composite was relatively flat week-over-week. We’ll have more details about the results from each sport later in the column.


Volleyball

Overall: 17-3 / Last Week: 2-0
Polls - AVCA Coaches: 13
Nerd Stuff - RPI: 10 | Massey: 13

Tech played Syracuse and Boston College on the road this week. The Jackets had never won on the road at the Orange and managed to end that streak on Friday with a four set win. It is a bit reductive to say that it was a game that saw contributions from the usual suspects, but, well, it did. Tech narrowly lost the first set, 23-25, and were outhit by the Orange on the set, but were more importantly done in by an unusually high number of errors, as they committed 8. However, in the later sets, Tech was able to clean up their attack, and their sideout percentage increased to show for it, peaking with an efficient 77% in the second set. The closest set of the latter three was the third set, as Syracuse kept the Tech lead to four points, but, on the whole, Tech’s successful attempts at locking down errors and taking advantage on the attack shown through.

Against Boston College, the Jackets played with a longer bench than usual, with Laura Fischer and Nicole Drewnick in particular seeing the floor in the third set. Tech made quick work of the first two sets, notably winning the second set 25-13. Boston College attempted to rally in the third set, even taking a lead deep into the set. Tech, however, may have been down, but they were not out. The Jackets were able to rally, pushing the set to 24-24 before taking the final two points.

It was a successful road trip, all things considered, and Tech returns home to face North Carolina and NC State on homecoming weekend.

Golf

Polls - Coaches: 8
Nerd Stuff - GolfStat: 13 | Sagarin: 15

Tech played quite the acclaimed group of opponents this week at the Golf Club of Georgia Collegiate, which included the defending champions, Pepperdine, as well as excellent Stanford, Wake Forest, and Texas A&M teams. As a whole, Tech didn’t play poorly, but a transcendent performance from Pepperdine put hopes of a title in front of the local fans out of reach for most. Benjamin Reuter led the way for Tech, finishing 13th, while Connor Howe also placed in the top 20, as the team once again tied Virginia, led by Chris Fosdick, the top-rated amateur in the country, for sixth place. Tech also sent a second lineup to the event, which placed in 12th overall.

Tech has already won two competitions this fall, and the field was extremely well-regarded in this event. It was a solid way to close out a fall that has been a pleasant and surprisingly quick return to the top 10 in the national golf scene. The Jackets will next be in action at the Amer Ari Intercollegiate in Hawaii in Febraury.

Swimming and Diving

Polls - CSCAA Coaches - W: NR
Polls - CSCAA Coaches - M: 19

This was the one event, besides the Pitt vs. Louisville volleyball game, that I had earmarked on my “must pay attention to” list for the weekend. It may seem odd, given that it is a very early season swim meet, but, in the swimming scene, it is often tough to compare apple to apples, given the prevalence of multi-team invitationals and changing schedules from year to year. However, this matchup in particular, Tech-FSU, is usually a dual meet and almost always on the schedule, so it provides a nice benchmark for a men’s team that adds to its already-great core and a women’s team that has its sights set on a big leap forward.

The meet on Saturday was bookended with relays, and they did a decent job of telling the story of the whole meet, condensed down into a pair of events. On the whole, it was a riveting, back-and-forth contest, but, despite Tech having great top-end speed, most prominently seen in two excellent and decisive wins by their A relays in the 400 Freestyle Relay, it came down to the details further down the lineup to tell the difference. We’ll circle back on that in a second.

It is also worth highlighting several notable contributors, including some great swims from young contributors. Mert Kilavuz and Defne Tacyildiz, both Turkish freshmen, each turned in a pair of event wins, with Kilavuz’ coming in the 1000 and 500 Freestyle, while Tacyildiz won the 200 Fly and 500 Free. Kilavuz’ 9:07.83 in the 1000 scorched the rest of the field, which left him just five seconds off the team record, and he and Batur Ünlü held off two FSU swimmers to go 1-2 in the 500. Tacyildiz was under 2 minutes in the 200 Fly, which is a very solid time for this point in the season, and, in the 500, it was high drama she fended off 3 FSU swimmers hot on her heels. As noted during the live tweeting, a swimmer can’t move to the far side of the lane if there’s someone in your wake on both sides. It was one of a number of gutty swims for Tech, of which fellow 200 Fly winner Christian Ferraro also had a pair of on his own. In the 100 Fly, Ferraro was neck-and-neck with a swimmer from FSU, but was able to put his head down and will his way to a win. Tech also swept the 200 Free, as Brooke Switzer and Ünlü both came out victorious. It is worth noting that the events Tech was finding particular success in are the distance events, which is telling as we work our way back to the note about relays.

Another multi-event winner was Caio Pumputis, who cruised to wins in the 100 and 200 Breaststroke. Both swims, along with Ferraro and Tacyildiz’ 200 Fly races, went for NCAA B qualifying cuts.

All of this brings us back to the final event. In the past, Tech has had very good relays, particularly on the men’s side, but they have also consistently skewed towards the long-distance relays. Thus, that the relays today were the 200 Medley and 400 Free makes it a mixed bag from the start for Tech. Tellingly, the Seminoles were able to win both of the former, while Tech took both of the later. In general, even seeing the women take such a commanding win alone is a sign of great progress as a team. They swam the race well, but the hole was just too large for them to be able to clamber out of. For the men, though, who only trailed by 7 headed into the race that would determine the meet, Tech got the performance they needed in the A Relay, who cruised to an exemplary win. However, the B Relay, who needed to get 3rd to gain ground, was narrowly edged out, and Tech fell by 2 to no. 15 Florida State.

It was a meet that showed a lot of promise, so the loss shouldn’t overshadow that numerical result.

Men’s Tennis

We will return to discuss the ITA Regionals next week pending the outcome of the final day of competition tomorrow. However, in the meantime, we will note than Andres Martin has qualified for the finals, and he and Marcus McDaniel have also rolled through to the doubles finals, as well. All this should make for an exciting Monday of tennis.

Baseball

Tech wrapped up exhibition play this weekend as they hosted the UAB Blazers for 12 delightful innings on Saturday. The weather was idyllic and the results about as positive as one could expect for Tech, who led 8-1 at the end of 9, but tagged the blazers for another 9 runs in the bonus frames. Of note from Tech, the highlight from the plate was certainly the sixth inning, when Parada led off with a home run off the batters’ eye in dead center field, followed by another shot from Stephen Reid into the trees in right with two men on base, and capped by John Anderson, who put a ball onto Rose Bowl Field. I guess good teams use the whole field, and Tech definitely was doing that at the plate. On the mound, Zach Maxwell pitched another scoreless pair of innings, striking out three, walking two, and yielding no hits, while Cort Roedig and Luke Bartnicki also turned in scoreless innings, in terms of familiar names.

One shouldn’t wish time away, but February should yield a promising baseball team.

Softball

There was a livestream of today’s game in Adel, Georgia against Georgia Southern, however I was preoccupied by Volleyball and the United States Grand Prix, so was unable to catch it. Having not seen much else from Twitter or RamblinWreck.com, we can presume things went well breaking in the new softball facility and sports complex in South Georgia. As for the Emory game, well, same story there, too.


In the Club House:

Hockey

Tech split their two games this weekend on the road in Orlando to take on UCF. In the first contest, aired over the DSPN streaming platform, the Jackets were thoroughly handled by the Knights, falling by a score of 5-1. In the second game, though, Tech was able to gut out a tightly fought overtime thriller, as Brandon Holt was able to be the difference in extra time.

Women’s Soccer

Soccer crossed town to take on Emory and solidify their bid for a postseason appearance this weekend. They kept up the same effective attack, though, and thoroughly handled their hosts 4-1. They have played very well so far this season, and we wish them the best of luck in their case for a Regional appearance.

Swimming

Swimming was on the road at Clemson this weekend, and the meet they attended was, in a single word, massive. 600 swimmers from Tech, Clemson, VPISU, Florida, and others all descended on the Fike Recreation Center for what is, year in and year out, one of the biggest fall meets in the Southeast. Though many of the teams will likely see each other again in a few weeks at Regionals in Florida, it is likely that Tech is up for a serious challenge this year for their College Club Swimming three-peat. With this past weekend’s meet getting cut slightly short due to space and time constraints, it is hard to draw true conclusions, but, at the very least, it is at least a sign that this club sport on a broader regional scale, like we’ve seen with soccer and hockey so far this fall, has bounced back following the COVID challenges of the past 18 months.


This Week:

Football:

10/30 — VPISU (Homecoming)

Volleyball:

10/29 — North Carolina

10/31 — NC State

Men’s Basketball:

10/31 — Morehouse (Exhibition)

Men’s Tennis:

Through 10/25 — ITA Regionals, Gainesville, FL

Cross Country:

10/29 — ACC Championships, South Bend, IN


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