ATLANTA, GEORGIA — I spent the afternoon today at State Farm Arena in what felt like my first sporting event in forever, even though it has likely only been a few weeks since I was up at Wrigley Field. Nevertheless, the three on three basketball tournament — a truly unique experience, for certain — featuring once-upon-a-time Tech men’s basketball leading scorer Glen Rice Jr. as a key portion of the Power starting lineup will have to do to bridge the gap for at least another week and change, as Tech volleyball starts yet another season on the road in Oxford this weekend. In the meantime, we will discuss their exhibition in Columbia briefly, introduce the fall Golf slate, and wait for the exciting first time that us as a Tech fan collective will be able to scan our tickets at O’Keefe, Mercedes Benz, or Bobby Dodd in a few short weeks.
Tech defeats South Carolina 4-1 (25-20, 25-20, 25-16, 16-25, 15-10) in Columbia [exhibition]
Tech spent their Sunday afternoon on the road as they ventured to face the Gamecocks in Columbia. In a conventional match, this would have been a shorter affair, as Tech was able to dispatch their hosts in three short sets early. However, in the name of live reps and making the most of the trip, the two teams played a full five sets, resulting in the unconventional 4-1 final score. Not that it means much, but Tech did win a similarly nontraditional five setter last year at O’Keefe by a narrower 3-2 margin, but it is far, far too early to be making brash judgements from an ultimately meaningless final score. However, it is great to see Tech coming out swinging with an efficient dispatch of their first opponent.
On the afternoon, 19 Gamecocks saw time on the floor, with 14 Jackets joining them from their side of the net. Even this many players seeing time in a match is rather unusual for Tech and is worth noting. Starters were not listed, but Paola Pimentel and Erin Moss saw playing time in all five sets, with Moss racking up 20 kills for a .548 hitting percentage. She was only outpaced by Isabella D’Amico’s .667 percentage, though that came on just two kills, with D’Amico and Nicole Drewnick both turning in very efficient afternoon as setters. After Moss, Julia Bergmann notched the second most kills on the attack with 14, though her six errors damped an otherwise good statistical evening. Notably, fellow outside hitter Bianca Bertolino was just six for 29 on the attack with eight errors, but Bertolino shone from the back line, going a perfect 20 for 20 in service. Breland Morrissette joined Moss with five blocks apiece at middle blocker while also having a great afternoon in service, with one error in 17 attempts. One would expect to see predominantly the players mentioned in the starting lineup come Friday in Oxford.
As a whole, Tech was very effective in all five sets, and the only one in which they were outdone on the attack was unsurprisingly the fourth, which they dropped 16-25. One would figure that the Jackets are well-positioned to start the year strong, with their first action coming Friday and Saturday against their hosts, Ole Miss, and a very solid Illinois Fighting Illini team, as well. Tech tips their season against the Rebels with a 5:00 PM Friday start on a TV network yet to be determined and a 4:00 PM Saturday afternoon tilt against Illinois, also on a TV channel TBD.
Golf has released their schedule, which features some familiar courses on the Fall slate. The four competitions include a schedule mainstay in the form of the Maui Jim Intercollegiate in Scottsdale (9/9-9/11), new entries in Toledo at the Inverness Intercollegiate (9/26-27) and Fort Worth at the Ben Hogan Collegiate Invitational (10/3-4), and a Tech classic, the Golf Club Of Georgia Collegiate (10/21-23) in Alpharetta to close the fall. Tech had a strong year last season and return a lot of their lineup, which should make for an exciting season. For those in Atlanta, the late October competition might be one in particular to circle on the calendar.
8/27 — at Ole Miss [5:00 PM, TV TBD] (Ole Miss Invitational)
8/28 — vs Illinois [4:00 PM, TV TBD] (Ole Miss Invitational)