ATLANTA, GEORGIA — I accidentally pasted a bunch of optimization Python code here in the process of writing this, so if you’d prefer chatting about that to sports, let me know in the comments. But, for those of you that don’t, we have another week of loaded content to talk about, too.
As much as I wish this was a men’s basketball content, given that as I write this, I am still seething with excited energy from the game on Saturday, it is not, and, boy do we have another packed week for the Jackets, be they the racquet kind, the water kind, or the club kind.
Last Week on the Flats
Women’s Basketball (9-3 Overall, 1-0 Last Week)
Polls - AP: RV / Coaches: NR
Nerd Stuff - NET: #22 / RPI: #18
They only had one game this week, and they made it a worthwhile one. Having already been a team that received votes last week, they added another notch to their belt thanks to a steady victory in Miami that was neither a rout nor a close game. Rather, it fell comfortably into the middle ground of results, as Tech never truly dominated the Hurricanes, nor was it ever truly in doubt. In the contest, Coach Nell Fortner played a short rotation partially out of ability and partly out of necessity. Sarah Bates, nominally a starter, was felled in the Florida State game last weekend with a severe ankle sprain - having seen it happen live, I’m absolutely shocked it wasn’t broken - and couldn’t participate in the game. This left Tech without one of its primary weapons from deep, however this wasn’t too much of an issue, as their reliable post presences in Nerea Hermosa and Lorela Cubaj filled in down low, while the guards spread the workload capably, as they normally do.
Now that Kierra Fletcher is back fully up to speed, I think it is high time I revise my early season prediction. In it, I stated that Tech would need to step up to be the “New Pan,” and take over the burden of the primary scoring threat. However, with the way the team has been playing, with a nearly egalitarian spread to the workload, I don’t think that’s true. They’ve matured into a team that is consistently a threat from almost everywhere on the court every time the ball is in any player’s hands.
They need to take care of business this week against a ranked Syracuse team (Tuesday), a better-than-usual Clemson team, and a Wake team that they already thrashed once this year. This is a big week. It’s time to make a statement.
No. 6 Women’s Tennis (6-0 Overall, 3-0 This Week)
Tech women’s tennis wasn’t playing the same caliber of teams this week as it was last weekend, but they still got in three matches, some of which felt tighter than others. In all three, Tech went 5-2, but, particularly in the UAB match, things were tight mostly until the end. In all of them, the Jackets won the doubles point, and the pairing of Kenya Jones and Victoria Flores looks to be absolutely humming along with the season now through its third weekend. The tight matches in singles this week is most likely due to playing nonstandard lineups, in order to get different players more looks, as well as irregular starters some real-match experience before the season gets too far along. Against UAB, Monika Dedaj and Sophia Sassoli took losses on courts 5 and 6, while against Kennesaw State, Rosie Garcia Gross throttled Soomin Kim on court 6, in terms of players that don’t as often get starts. Victoria Flores, Kenya Jones, Ava Hrastar, and Mahak Jain were perfect on the weekend.
Tech is next in action in Stillwater, Oklahoma, when they kickoff the ITA Indoor National Championship against a yet-to-be-determined opponent, but based on current national rankings, my hunch is that we’ll see no. 5 Pepperdine in the first round.
Men’s Tennis (3-0 Overall, 3-0 This Week)
Men’s tennis had about as good of a week as anyone could have asked for this week, going a combined 18-0 between back-to-back seven point sweeps of Kennesaw State and another 4-0 sweep of Auburn on the road. It is this latter one that I find the more intriguing one of the bunch, no matter how visually appealing a 7-0 pair of sweeps is on a stat sheet. This is a young team that is still growing, and to see them step into a solid win against a quality opponent was exciting. In the Auburn match, Tech took the doubles point, and saw three more wins coming by Marcus McDaniel, Brandon McKinney, and Pablo Schelcher, all in two sets. Schelcher, notably, won a tidy 6-2, 6-1 pair of sets. Tech trailed on the other courts () when play ceased.
As for the Kennesaw matches, as far as checking in on guys who didn’t play in Auburn, Brandon Freestone and Chen Dong each played twice on courts 5 and 6, with the early match being particularly successful for each, netting tidy two set victories, while Zummy Bauer got in twice for doubles.
Swimming and Diving
Polls - CSCAA M: #19 / W: NR, SwimSwam M: #16 / W: NR
Nerd Stuff - CAP M: #15 / W: #36
There’s not much news for the swimming and diving team this week, as Gardner Webb is somewhat of the classic Senior Day schedule. Sadly, I can no longer call Tech’s men’s team the best no-win team in the country, but that’s alright, it’s good to see them break through in a meaningful way. And, as always noted with the sport of swimming, the most important thing is getting athletes to the big meets at the end of the year.
As far as actual results go, it was excellent to see Tech diving able to lead the headlines with Camryn Hidalgo locking down the women’s Platform record, giving her all three of the women’s diving records. It is now indisputable that Hidalgo is the best diver to ever compete for the Tech women’s team. So that’s pretty nifty. It’s also worth noting that Miami’s swimming and diving is actually men’s diving + women’s swimming and diving, and that their men’s team has quite a glowing reputation. By not having a men’s team anymore, they’ll never win any titles, but their divers are excellent, and it was great to see the Tech men and women holding their own against the familiar Seminoles and the excellent Hurricanes. Tech notably swept the platform event on the women’s side.
In perhaps the greatest endurance performance of the entire meet, Duda Seifer narrowly missed out on a win in the 1000 Freestyle, a grueling 10+ minute affair, but managed to turn right around and win the 200 Freestyle. Not bad!
The usual suspects, Caio Pumputis, Christian Ferraro and Batur Unlu, led the way for the Tech men, as far as scoring goes, while Caleb Blischke has continued his almost meteoric rise in the distance events. As for the ladies, McKenzie Campbell, easily a candidate for swimmer of the year for the women’s team, notched mutliple wins of her own, along with Allie Paschal and Lindsey Merk.
Next up is the Georgia Tech Invitational before the ACC Championships. It’s almost time for taper...
No. 20 Golf
Tech headed out west to the Southwestern Invitational hosted by Pepperdine University this past week. In a fun change, they were televised for the majority of the tournament, which let Tech golf fans tune in to see their team live, an unusual treat. However, out west, the weather was chilly and windy the majority of the week, making it a challenging prospect for the young team to build any momentum. Senior Will Dickson lead the way, tying for 11th with a +4 across the three day tournament, which was a nice plus for him, as he finally is making the most of a giant opportunity to score a lot of playing time, now that a huge amount of Tech’s past scoring has graduated. Meanwhile, freshman Christo Lamprecht continued his solid start to the season as he finished with a +11, though somewhat struggled down the stretch, as he went +8 in the final day of play. Meanwhile, Noah Norton was the non-scorer in Tech’s team lineup, despite being Tech’s most experienced player left on the roster.
It is because of these factors - the late struggle, lagging veterans, and the very green team - that I think Tech has a lot of room to grow this year, and they have plenty of time to rack up some experience in order to make that happen.
Track and Field
As noted by RamblinWreck.com, Tech burst onto the national individual top 25 rankings this weekend, with the 3000m, 60m hurdles, and the pole vault all seeing excellent races from familiar Tech faces. Liz Galarza joined fellow distance standout Nicole Fegans in the top 25 of a distance event, as Galarza finished in 5th with a time of 9:24.36, behind a crowd of Seminoles, while the top two finishers both bested the track record in the event, good for 16th in the country. Fegans’ 5000m last week was good for 6th, while Andrew Kent joined her in the mile (21st) and Cameron O’Neal in the long jump (13th). Elsewhere on the track, Taylor Grimes lept into 20th in the country with an 8.31 in the 60m hurdles, while Olivia Moore vaulted to #22 in the, err, pole vault. Someone please stop me from making more bad puns. Thanks. Anyways, thanks to RamblinWreck.com for sharing the top 25 marks, because that’s pretty neat and I’ve never known where exactly to look for those until now.
Best of the Week
- Look to Your Left, Look to Your Right: Basketball’s Midseason Grades
- Football Schedule Released
- Too-Early Predictions for 2021
This Week on the Flats
Easy call: cancel your plans this afternoon and watch Tech take on a top 25 Louisville team from the comfort of your home, office, or home office. Otherwise, catch the ladies at home three times this week, while the men return for a Saturday game against Notre Dame. Otherwise, in terms of stuff over the airwaves, you’ve got men’s tennis once they get home for Sunday (George Burdell on YouTube) and I believe ITA indoors will be live streamed for the ladies all weekend.
Poll of the Week
This poll is closed