At long last, Georgia Tech volleyball has released their schedule for the 2022 season, an event most Tech fans have probably been eagerly anticipating since the conclusion of their stellar 2021 campaign, in which they notched just the second Elite Eight appearance in program history.
The Jackets, to recap, stomped their way through the regular season, finishing 23-5 on their way to a national seed in the NCAA Tournament. Of note, Tech fell to conference champion Louisville twice in the regular season and split their matches with Pittsburgh, both of whom made it to the Final Four, with Louisville’s appearance coming in a 3-1 third match against Tech in Freedom Hall. That Pittsburgh and Louisville represent just the second and third teams in conference history to reach a Final Four, a distinction shared with Florida State’s 2011 squad, is a tremendous indicator that the ACC is playing better volleyball as a whole than any point in its history. Tech’s finish, paired with their win over #2 Pittsburgh representing their highest ranked win in program history, makes a compelling case for last year’s squad being the best to ever represent the Institute on the court. The Jackets’ only other blemishes on the year came at the hands of a ranked UCLA team on the road, along with a five set heartbreaker against an always-competitive Notre Dame team at O’Keefe Gymnasium, while other notable wins included their season opener over perennial power #12 Penn State and their Sweet Sixteen victory over a top 10 Ohio State team.
With all that lead up, I suppose it is time to get to the point, and Tech’s schedule for the upcoming season is attached below:
2022 Volleyball Schedule
|Date||Opponent||Notes||Location||Time||NCAA Tournament Qualifier|
|Date||Opponent||Notes||Location||Time||NCAA Tournament Qualifier|
|8/14/22||Gold vs. White||Exhibition||Home||4:00 PM|
|8/21/22||South Carolina||Exhibition||Away||3:00 PM||TRUE|
|8/26/22||Ole Miss||Ole Miss Invitational||Away||5:00 PM||TRUE|
|8/27/22||Illinois||Ole Miss Invitational||Neutral||3:00 PM||TRUE|
|9/2/22||Dayton||GT Invitational||Home||7:00 PM||TRUE|
|9/3/22||Arizona State||GT Invitational||Home||4:00 PM||FALSE|
|9/4/22||FIU||GT Invitational||Home||1:00 PM||FALSE|
|9/8/22||BYU||Georgia Tech Classic||Home||7:00 PM||TRUE|
|9/11/22||Ohio State||Georgia Tech Classic||Home||1:00 PM||TRUE|
|9/23/22||Wake Forest||ACC||Home||7:00 PM||FALSE|
|9/25/22||Virginia Tech||ACC||Home||1:00 PM||FALSE|
|9/30/22||Notre Dame||ACC||Away||7:00 PM||FALSE|
|10/9/22||Pittsburgh||ACC||Home (McCamish Pavilion)||2:00 PM||TRUE|
|10/21/22||Boston College||ACC||Home||7:00 PM||FALSE|
|10/28/22||North Carolina||ACC||Away||7:00 PM||TRUE|
|10/30/22||North Carolina State||ACC||Away||1:00 PM||FALSE|
|11/6/22||Florida State||ACC||Away||1:00 PM||TRUE|
|11/26/22||Florida State||ACC||Home||1:00 PM||TRUE|
Right off the bat, there are a few things that are readily apparent about this schedule. Perhaps the thing that affects the fan experience most poignantly is the return of volleyball to McCamish Pavilion. As far as I can tell, this is the first time since the renovation of Alexander Memorial Coliseum that volleyball will host a match in the Thrillerdome. I cannot find hard statistics on which past games were held in Alexander Memorials, but the program record attendance of 3,211, set in the 2002 season against Florida State, surely seems within reach. With the game on a Sunday, this is a great opportunity to spend an afternoon in Midtown, watch two great volleyball teams, and try to set a new program record.
What a testament to this program that not one, but TWO matches are moving to McCamish. How many can we get through the gates Jacket fans? https://t.co/aMXYpUVKUZ— Andy Demetra (@AndyDemetra) July 20, 2022
In the schedule release, I only see one, but I would love to know if one of the other matchups - Louisville at home, perhaps - might get optioned across the street to McCamish.
Sticking with a theme of big storyline events, a handful of key rematches that are in store for Tech. As mentioned, last season’s elite teams from the conference will all square off, but Ohio State’s journey to Atlanta as a part of the BYU/OSU Georgia Tech Classic is a rematch of the Sweet Sixteen sweep that Tech notched on the way to the final.
Most critically, last year’s uptick in schedule difficulty is not abating in 2022. If anything, Tech’s schedule has gotten even more difficult, with 14 of the 28 games coming against 2021 NCAA Tournament teams. Tech double dips on Louisville, Pittsburgh, and Florida State in conference play, among those tournament teams. This, of course, is not a bad thing. The Jackets showed last year that they can handle the gauntlet of a tough non-conference schedule in addition to the ever-improving ACC slate. Tech will get two powers in the building during the non-conference season in the form of a weekend invitational with BYU and Ohio State in Atlanta. Not only is Tech in a place where they can get great tournament invites, but also seeing that truly excellent teams want to come to O’Keefe to take on the Jackets is a great sign for the position of the program in the national landscape.
Speaking of that ACC slate, so certain was I that the conference went out of its way to increase the number of times the previous year’s top teams faced off in the next season, I put together a matrix of all the conference teams and who their opponents in the coming year were. In doing so, I noticed that, while it is almost certainly no accident that the Elite Eight and Final Four teams, Pittsburgh, Louisville, and Georgia Teach, all of whom having already gotten home and homes against each other last year, are all playing again. However, when looking at the numbers, Miami actually finished above Tech in the standings, albeit against a weaker strength of schedule, and they will get Florida State twice, but no repeats against any other tournament teams. All of this is to say that there wasn’t too clear of a schedule bias towards creating more marquee matchups, but looking at Louisville, Tech, and Florida State in particular certainly didn’t disprove any hunch I might have, either.
Of course, there will be plenty of storylines, scheduling and otherwise, that emerge during the fall. Tech had a tremendous season last year, but the departure of some key cogs to graduation and transfers certainly mean that the team will have a slightly altered look without the likes of, say, Mariana Brambilla, to name just one example. It appears, though, that Tech is doing their very best to ensure they do not miss a beat from one season to the next, and will certainly be playing a lot of high-interest volleyball matches in the next few months.
Have any thoughts on the schedule? Already planning to go to a few matches? Let us know in the comments below!