After losing 3-1 to Miami in a tight game on Friday, the AVCA 10th ranked Georgia Tech Volleyball was en route to be swept in Tallahassee after losing two paltry sets on Sunday. Down 2-0, Tech superstar outside hitter Julia Bergmann played the game of her collegiate career. She destroyed kill after kill to power a 3-2 win (14-25, 21-25, 25-19, 25-20, 15-10), and her 38 kills set her new career high and matched Maja Pachale for the progam single game record originally set in 1999 against NC State. Bergmann not only puts herself tied atop that list, she’s the first Jacket with 35 or more kills since Talisa Kellogg in 2005 against Virginia.
In the postgame interview with ACC Network, Bergmann said “I wanted 39.”
The first two sets were arguably two of Tech’s worst all season in terms of cohesiveness and Inability to find their own footing. They generated very few offensive looks early on. Bella D’Amico was clearly off with her sets to the point Head Coach Michelle Collier swapped her out for Nicole Drewnick down 10-5 in the first set. After getting doubled in the first set and staying doubled down 14-6, they finally got a string of points together largely from Seminole attack errors, which they cleaned up and won 9 of the last 10 points to win the first set 25-14.
Tech at least kept it close most of the second set like they did against Miami, but never reclaimed the lead after being up 8-6. Bergmann hit eight kills in the set that kept the Jackets competitive until Florida State scored three critical points to take a 21-18 lead via two kills from Audrey Keonig. Koenig hit five of her team leading 17 kills in that second set, including the set winner. Tech’s service returning was poor, communication was not clean or seemingly nonexistent at times. Tech fans who have watched the team this season would not have recognized the performance of the first two sets.
After the five minute break between sets, Tech played like the beasts they have been all season against unranked teams. Bergmann hit 13 kills en route to the set victory where Tech climbed to an eight point lead up 20-12, far more characteristic of their usual play.
In the fourth set, three of Bertolino’s 14 kills came in a row that extended Tech’s lead to 10 points and effectively put the set away, at least we thought. Florida State upped their own eight point run from the first set and scored 10 in a row to shrink Tech’s 18-8 lead to 18-17, forcing Collier to spend both of her timeouts in the process. Seven of the ten points came via Tech attack errors or other miscues. Bergmann hit another eight kills, including one to stretch the lead to four at 23-19, giving enough wiggle room for Tech to win the set on a Bergmann ace.
So came the first fifth set Georgia Tech played all season. The race to fifteen points was the Bergmann show all over again, scoring six kills and finishing the match with an ace to win 15-10, completing the comeback in what undeniably was the most resilient game played all season by the Jackets.
The statline is quite similar for both squads, a great representation of how after the five sets, it became a very even match despite only playing two sets that were truly competitive.
Tech started the game hitting .030 in the first set, rallied a little in the closely fought second set at .273, then blew the doors off offensively hitting .441 in the third. Six combined aces and blocks were clutch in the fourth set where they hit .233, but clicked when it counted in the fifth hitting .421.
Bertolino’s 14 kills were second to Bergmann’s 38 on the day. Breland Morrissette was third with six. Bella D’Amico assisted on 43 points.
Three Thoughts on Julia Bergmann’s monster day...
- The Day’s Numbers: The statline for Bergmann is enough to show why Tech even had a chance in this match. The 33 kill Ole Miss game to begin the season was apparently a rehearsal act for today.
Kills: 38 (career high) / Total Attempts: 77 (career high) / Hit %: .338 / Kill %: .494 / Aces: 3 / Digs: 11 / Points: 42.5 (career high)
Playing five sets of course helps inflate the numbers compared to a regular Georgia Tech match, but there is no denying that it took all five of these sets to leg out the win. To discount today is to discount the required effort that only comes in thrilling games such as this.
2. Records: As mentioned before, during the postgame interview, she was asked how she felt about tying the Tech single match kill record at 38, to which she said “I wanted 39.” The killer instinct needed to put on that kind of performance and still want more after the game was over is a beautiful sight and very encouraging for the games ahead, which include both top 10 teams Pitt and Louisville.
After the weekend, she’s now 7th all time in program history in kills at 1,629. The 38 kill performance puts her in range to hit over 500 on the season. Teegan Van Gunst currently holds the #10 spot in program history for kills in a single season at 507.
Her 77 attempts are tied for 4th in program history with Jennifer Wagner and Gabriela Stavnetchei, who both hit 77 attacks in games against Georgia in 1991 and 2017 respectively.
3. In-Season Impact: World class players don’t come across Tech’s campus every day and launch the program to a consistently elite level every day. Bergmann’s performance likely saved Tech from a potential three game losing streak, which would’ve been immensely costly in the march to host NCAA Tournament games. The Jackets may still lose a few ranking spots purely because of the Miami loss, but potentially was saved today could’ve been immensely consequential for how Tech got lined up in the NCAA Tournament.
Tech never had to play a five set match this season, and only had lost the first two sets to Pitt all season. Bergmann’s performance gave the team what it needed to gut out one of the best showings of resiliency by any team so far from The Flats in the 2022-2023 NCAA season.
Georgia Tech next plays Friday night in O’Keefe Gymnasium against #5 Louisville at 7pm. For those not already with a ticket to the sold out match, it will be televised on ACCNX.