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#5 Georgia Tech Volleyball Suffers First Loss of Season

Three thoughts on the close, but rough afternoon

Madelaine Polk - GT Athletics

The Georgia Tech Classic came to end Sunday afternoon as #8 Ohio State came in and took advantage of a too often sloppy #5 Georgia Tech team. This was the final match of the weekend in the round-robin style event featuring these two teams and #10 BYU. Ohio State is one of the few teams in the country that can at any point seem like a brick wall, even against Tech’s offensive firepower.

Tech lost three sets to one (25-19, 20-25, 25-21, 25-23) in what deserved to be a five set thriller. The Jackets had a 19-15 lead in the fourth set that disappeared via two Emily Londot kills and a block assist on top of that. Julia Bergmann again lead Tech with 21 kills, followed by Bianca Bertolino with 11.

Everything across the board was very similar (service stats, digs, sideout%, assists) minus hit%, and that’s where Tech hurt themselves a ton. Much of their offense was trying to find the corners through gaps, but Ohio State did a great job blocking up front and covering lots of court. Bergmann finished with 12 errors, which with how close this could’ve been is too many for today.

Tech is now 6-1 with two games left before conference play begins against Wake Forest in O’Keefe.

Three thoughts on the match:

  1. Communication/service errors were achilles heel’s today

While Ohio State did have one more service error than Tech, the Jackets’ 10 errors took away valuable opportunities. They had three each in the second, third, and fourth sets, including a crucial one by Elizabeth Patterson at the end that gave Ohio State a 23-22 lead before finishing up the match.

In the first and third sets presented a ton of communcation challenges that messed up positioning when setting. A rewatch might reveal more specific reasoning as to why, but it was clear far too often that the back and front lines were not on the same page.

Tech’s H% was .152, so how much of that attributes to poor communication leading to inoptimal sets leading to easily returnable attacks, hard to say. Ohio State though is a very, very good team. They deserve a ton of credit for making the day difficult for Tech.

2. Ohio State’s Size

Against BYU, Collier kept the bench super tight, only having Laura Fischer sub from the bench. Today, a whole smattering of folks came in to try and counteract OSU on that front. Laura Fischer, Elizabeth Patterson, Leia Harper, and Nicole Drewnick all saw time in multiple sets, often replacing front line setters. At times it worked out, but it was a gamble to keep 2-3 of Tamara Otene, Isabella D’Amico, Breland Morrissette, and Erin Moss out at key points when Tech needed scoring. Fischer and Harper did get kills, but beyond that only Patterson made a dent on the score sheet. About that...

3. Elizabeth Patterson - new serving specialist?

Patterson, as far as I understood, was essentially Paola Pimentel’s backup as libero if she got hurt. But today, Michelle Collier used her in the Kayla Kaiser role from last year as a serve specialist. She only came in during two sets, but critically was put in the near the end of the fourth set with the game tied at 22.

To be clear, she is no Kayla Kaiser, but her serve is fast and can get deep. If it’s a weapon that can be usable regularly, it can certainly help spread the load across this team that at times may need to play beyond the usual suspects.

Tech returns to action Thursday (9/15) night against Arkansas in Fayetteville before facing a school in the same city Creature Comforts Brewing resides on Saturday.