ATLANTA, GEORGIA — Tech’s star turn continues this week in basketball and baseball, but there’s plenty more to talk about in the world of non-revenue sports. Is there plenty I could (and would) write about those two if I had the time? Absolutely. But there’s far too much going on in the world of non-revenue sports - great stuff, even - to take our eyes off of them, even in a top 5 upset, Duke drought ending, Moses Wright player of the year award earning week at the top of everyone’s radar.
Last Week on the Flats
Volleyball (8-1 Overall, 1-0 This Week)
Polls - AVCA Coaches: #18
Nerd Stuff - RPI: N/A
After quite a lengthy hiatus, it was good to see Volleyball back in action yesterday in Pittsburgh. Their opener did not come against the Pittsburgh Panthers, who they play today, as the ACC has condensed its spring play into a series of three team pods, with all games played in the same location. Instead, they faced off against Virginia, a notably less good team than the Panthers, who have long ruled the ACC Volleyball scene. In the first set, though, Virginia looked to be giving Tech a run for their money, and it seemed that a Miami-esque situation could be on our hands. However, despite playing neck-and-neck volleyball and being out-hit by the Cavaliers by a not-insignificant margin, Tech was able first to force bonus volleyball, and then close out a first set win, 29-27. Volleyball, for those that don’t remember, is best 3 of 5 sets to 25, win by 2, except the fifth set is to 15. In the second and third sets, Virginia looked like a completely different team, and was rather easily dispatched, 25-12 and 25-18. But for one set, at least, Sunday looked hairy.
Tech volleyball is back in action today at 5:00 PM, as they look to rock the boat for their hosts, a team they are 1-9 all-time against, 0-9 against in ACC play. This will be the first time Tech comes into a contest as the higher rank, and is 26 for their last 28, dating back to early October of 2019. One of those two losses? On the road at Pittsburgh. Should be quite the match.
Overall: 15-8 / Last Week: 1-1
Polls - AP: RV (#33) / Coaches: RV (#34)
Nerd Stuff - NET: #32 / RPI: #31
Talk about polls converging! Tech sits between #30 and #35 in all four of the major rankings we track here at Yellow Jacket Roundup. The consensus bracketology puts them on a 6 seed line after the conclusion of the ACC Tournament, and what a tournament it was. Tech defeated Clemson for the third time this season by a narrow three point margin - every single one of those contests has been quite a nailbiter this year - and led most of the way through the second half. That set the Jackets up for a rematch with the vaunted NC State Wolfpack. Tech led most of the way throughout the second half of that game too, which is disappointing considering the final result, a 66-61 loss. Tech led by as many as ten, but, as we’ve seen a few times this year, they have issues closing down the stretch. I’m sure anyone who saw the Duke men’s game knows that this has been a bit of a theme for both teams this year. However, the positive takeaway is this - Tech will almost certainly be going to March Madness this year. Excitement may be on a little bit of a simmer compared to when they were deep into a win streak through the month of February, but they’ve shown that they can hang with one of the best teams in the country, and that ability could take them dancing deep into the month of March.
Overall: 6-13 / Last Week: 1-3
Polls - NFCA Coaches: NR / D1 Softball: NR / ESPN USAS: NR
Nerd Stuff - RPI: N/A
It was another tough weekend for the Jackets in Raleigh. They managed to break the losing streak, but getting walked off on back to back days is not a fun way to lose. As has been the theme throughout the last three weeks, they have been both unlucky and inconsistent. However, they’ve not been helped by inconsistency behind the plate, which was something I feared I was imagining until I took to Twitter to see the rest of the softball world in a bit of a tizzy about umpiring. Really, it seems to be a confluence of several factors that contribute to their post-opening weekend slump, and there’s not a simple and easy fix to the problem, barring bashing their way out of it with their bats. However, seeing as that’s not entirely sustainable every game, it’s merely a stopgap to give them, breathing space to try to fix anything else they can in the meantime. Pitt is up next, and here’s hoping for a reset for the Jackets.
Swimming and Diving
Polls - CSCAA Coaches M: #22 / W: NR, SwimSwam M: #15 / W: NR
Nerd Stuff - CAP M: #18 / W: #45
Tech had a quiet week, with Zone B Diving still ongoing. However, Camryn Hidalgo has already punched her ticket to NCAAs in at least one event, and we learned this weekend that Brooke Switzer and Mackenzie Campbell, both sophomores, will be joining her in Greensboro for women’s NCAAs. Switzer was invited with her B-cut in the 200 Free and Campbell for her times in the 200 Fly and 400 IM. Gosh, hope the program has a hotel they like by the Greensboro Aquatic Center, they practically live there in February and March, it seems.
Overall: 10-6 / Last Week: 1-1
Polls - ITA/Oracle Coaches: #13
Quite frankly, I’m not sure what went wrong in Winston-Salem for Tech, but a 7-0 sweep at the hands of a team that Tech is certainly better than is not an ideal way to start the weekend. They started a relatively normal looking lineup, but couldn’t get much going in either doubles or singles. However, against #11 NC State on Sunday, Tech faired much better, as the world evened out just a little after NC State scored wins on the Jackets in two other sports. The Racquet Jackets were able to start strong and take the doubles point, while strong play on courts 1 and 2 in singles - the usual suspects, Kenya Jones and Vicky Flores - notched two singles points before Carol Lee broke the tie on court 6 with her solid victory. In summary: a win that is most certainly a quality one, and a loss that was rather surprising. All in all, an interesting weekend for Tech.
Overall: 8-5 / Last Week: 2-0
Polls - ITA/Oracle Coaches: #44
So, the ITA poll does a weird thing in the middle of the year where it expands to include 50 teams, rather than the initial 25. Thus, by nature of the changing methodology of the poll, Tech men’s tennis is now ranked. They responded to that ranking by taking care of business this weekend against a similarly-skilled Clemson team and an outmatched Georgia Southern team. If there has been one thing this team has been very good at this year, it’s capitalizing against their non-major opponents, going a combined 35-0 against Kennesaw State, The Citadel, Georgia State, and Georgia Southern. This is quite good. Adding their second ACC and third power 5 win to their resume (Auburn, FSU, Clemson) was a much-needed boost, as well. Against Clemson, Andres Martin/Chen Dong and Zummy Bauer/Keshav Chopra won the lower two doubles courts for that point, and then Pablo Schelcher, Martin, and Marcus McDaniel powered through the top three courts to overwhelm the Tigers. All in all, a good weekend for Tech, but the slate is about to get a lot harder for Tech, as they hit the road to face #4 Virginia and #39 Virginia Tech. Yikes!
Track and Field
Nerd Stuff: USTFCCCA Index M: #74 / W: #54
Polls - USTFCCA Coaches M: NR / W: #15
Not a ton to report here other than both teams received their NCAA invites this weekend. On the track side, Nicole Fegans, Andrew Kent, Olivia Moore and Cameron O’Neal will be heading to indoor nationals for the 3000m, 3000m, pole vault, and long jump, respectively. On the cross country side, the women’s team will be heading to the long-awaited NCAAs to compete as a team for the cross country crown.
Best of the Week
This Week on the Flats
Tonight, volleyball. Thursday, men’s basketball. Hopefully Friday and Saturday, also men’s basketball. It’s quite an exciting time on the Flats, in general.
Poll of the Week
This poll is closed
No. 8/9 for the prestige of a higher rank, face a good team in the second round
No. 7/10 for the prestige of a higher rank, face a good team, but not a #1 seed, in the second round
No. 6/11 to catch the #3/#2 combo
No. 5/12 to catch the #4/#1 combo