After the opening act that was the Mini-500 provided its usual lack of speed and broken trikes, the AVCA #10 Georgia Tech Volleyball squad swept Virginia in an unnecessary nailbiter. The sets went 27-25, 25-11, and 25-21.
As the first set score indicates, Tech did not have their ducks in a row, combining service errors with poor ball flight judgment that allowed the Cavaliers to stay close. After a Tech timeout at 23-23, Pimentel had her 22nd return error of the season, giving Virignia a set point. Bergmann came through with one of her blistering kills that saved set point and put Tech on their way a set win.
The second set was a completely different Tech team. The errors of the first set disappeared. Tech went from hitting .214 in the first set to .545 in the second and only two errors.
The third set had us fearing it was going to four. Tech went down five points at 12-7. 21 points later, the Jackets had reeled in Virginia to a 20-20 tie. Tech won seven of the last eight points of the set to beat the Cavaliers and move to 4-1 in ACC play. They remain in a tie for second in the ACC with a critical game against NCAA #5 Pitt coming up on Sunday.
Three thoughts on the win...
- Attack opportunities shared around: I mentioned last week that changes are going to need to be made to beat teams like Louisville and Pitt. One of those changes was to spread the offensive load more evenly to Bianca Bertolino and Tamara Otene so that Julia Bergmann wouldn’t get the overwhelming majority of the attack opportunities. Bergmann will always keep teams honest, but only going to her gets predictable. In the second set, all three of them were within five attacks of each other. Julia eventually pulled away with 34 attempts to Bertolino’s 18 and Otene’s 21, but it’s far more balanced than before.
- Tech finds a way to bounce back because they’re great: This is a crucial trait of any championship level team. The first set was riddled with service errors and poor movement. The second set was a some serious regression to the mean. The third set saw Tech down by a worrisome amount, but they found a way. I think this team has a distinct feeling that they can beat anybody. They’ll slip up multiple times in a match but not ever let that dictate how they finish.
- Homecoming starts right, and boy do we need good vibes! That’s one down, two to go between volleyball and football. Last I heard, at least 2,000 tickets were sold to Sunday’s game at McCamish, so there is certainly space for everyone reading this to show up on Sunday! We all hope everyone has a fantastic time tailgating and enjoying the greater Georgia Tech community tomorrow. It’s everybody all together all at once that makes this thing great.