The 7th ranked Georgia Tech Volleyball squad fell 3-1 to #24 Arkansas (25-16, 23-25, 25-22, 25-20) who came in with an 18 set win streak dating back to September 1 when they beat Colorado State. It was the Razorbacks’ second win over a top 10 team this season, having beaten #8 Washington to start the year.
When the schedule came out, of the trap losses that were possible, this was not one the volleyball heads here at FTRS saw coming. But, between a smattering of errors and incredible play by Hailey Dirrigl, Arkansas was given plenty of leeway to take this match.
The first set was another edition of Tech not coming out strong and looking lost in many spots. By the time Arkansas was up 13-7, Tech had 4 service errors. A timeout by Collier at that same score didn’t do enough as Tech went down 20-10. Julia Bergmann never got a signature unreturnable kill until the set was already out of hand.
By the time Tech had won the second set, it was clear the Jackets were not going to be firing on all cyninders without a major shift. Tech found their best rhythm of the match after a 6-6 tie, going on an 11-2 that put them up 17-8. It almost wasn’t enough as Tech was getting called for net violations and getting pounded by Jillian Gillen and Dirrigl to the point Arkansas shrank the lead to one at 22-21. A clutch Bergmann kill got the two point separation needed to make it 23-21. The Jackets won the set 25-23.
Tech again had a three point lead in the third set at 18-15 that blew up in their faces from an Arkansas six point run. The Jackets were down a set and never recovered. They went down as many as nine points in the 4th set en route to losing their second match of the year, and second in a row.
Tech far too often did not set themselves up well to challenge points offensively, could not escape net violations, and simply just played bad with an exception in the 2nd set. This game was not a case of Arkansas going above and beyond to beat a top ten team. The Jackets made it far easier than it could have been, and it was teamwide.
On the positive, Julia Bergmann hit the 20 kill mark again with 22 on the night at a .246 H%. Breland Morrissette was the only other to reach 10.
On Arkansas’ side, five players posted a H% over .300, including Dirrigl at .423 with 12 kills and only one error. Dirrigl was truly remarkable tonight. If not for her, this game looks very different from the one we got.
The basic box score reveals some key spots where Tech simply did not play well enough.
Attack errors: six more than Arkanasas
Block errors: six more than Arkansas
Aces: five less than Arkansas
Hit %: .099 less than Arkansas
This was Tech’s 8th all-time meeting with Arkansas, of which they won all seven prior to tonight.
What’s done is done. Plenty of mistakes were made in this game, and rivalry time is a great spot to shake off whatever needs to be rid of going into conference play. Georgia Tech flies home before heading to Athens on Saturday for the annual UGA game. Start time 7pm on SEC Network+.