Before we get to the Georgia Tech Volleyball portion of this piece, I’m sitting here in my room just off Tech’s campus after watching Roger Federer’s farewell speech after his final match in London. I can barely keep my thoughts straight enough to write this because he meant so much to my upbringing as a sports fan and a believer in the stories sport can tell. The best of tennis is in its final, final days while Novak and Rafa still battle it out in majors. To quote myself from Twitter, “It was the golden era. So perfect with its cast of characters, rootable protagonists, anti-heroes, and the absolute perfect ending. Every story wishes it could be the last 20 years of tennis.”
And to quote Andy Bernard, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the ‘good old days’ before you’ve actually left them.” Well, for tennis, I think we just realized we were there. Thanks for everything, Roger.
Now on to our regularly scheduled programming at O’Keefe Gymnasium...
#13 Georgia Tech absolutely obliterated the Wake Forest Demon Deacons tonight for Michelle Collier’s 200th win as head coach. The 3-0 sweep (25-17, 25-11, 25-15) at worst was an off night for Julia Bergmann, and at its best the standard beatdown we’ve come to see night in and night out against unranked opponents. Tech never fell behind and the only tie that wasn’t 0-0 was at 2-2 in the first set.
That first set was the most challenging of the three for Tech. Wake Forest went on a four point run and three point runs twice, shrinking the lead to one at 13-12. A Bergmann kill started a four point run for Tech from there. Wake Forest never seriously challenged Tech again. Wake’s sideout % was a meager 40.5% to Tech’s 70.5%.
Coach Collier kept the rotation short tonight, only inserting Tali Marmen and Nicole Drewnick in the second set when Tech was up big.
The most entertaining part of the night actually came from our beloved friend and mascot, Buzz. It was an all-time moment. During the third set, he wanted to play with a spare volleyball so he went to one of the assistants that wipes them down. Right as he got there though the ball person needed to give their one ball to the Wake Forest server. He apologized to the ball person after realizing the ball needed to be used for the actual match. After that point, a ball was being rolled down the court to the ball person he’s with, so he sprints after it and slides directly behind the ref to get the ball. He doesn’t collect it cleanly, so the serve was delayed because the ball is rolling around beside the court. But, because he slid, the referee needed to fully pause the game so that the area could get wiped down. Wake Forest missed the next serve. Buzz was not in the gymnasium much longer after that. What a guy.
I don’t have pictures yet, but they will come with the Three Thoughts piece after the Virginia Tech game.
Three Thoughts on Tech’s win:
- Player of the Game: Erin Moss
Moss was go-to person for points all night, even with Bergmann receiving double the attack opportunities. She was everywhere on the net tonight getting 9 kills and 3 blocks. It’s a performance that’s super promising because you know she’s a usable weapon when scoring might not be coming from other spots against top teams later in the year. Moss scoring efficiently spreads the range of attack for Tech, and critically can force opponents to make choices on how they decide to block Tech.
2. Bergmann doesn’t need to be the best every night
The best teams are not one-person shows. Julia was at a negative hit % after the first set, and barely finished above even at .029. Tech’s depth and strength across every position in the starting seven is so good that the best player in the nation doesn’t need to be that for the team to win. It’s a great spot to be in. Teams will do their best to neutralize Julia, so wins on days like this are promising.
3. Spread the load night
To build off the second point, the scoring load was spread out very well for a night where Julia wasn’t putting up double-digit kills. Moss’ nine lead the team, but Julia had the most points at 12 with her four aces. Breland also had three aces to top off the team’s seven total. Four players had eight or more kills (Moss, Bertolino, Otene, Bergmann) largely set by Isabella D’Amico and Nicole Drewnick (37 of 38 total sets between the two). Seeing the whole starting lineup produce effectively was a delight to see.
Tech returns to O’Keefe Gymnasium on Sunday the 25th at 1pm against the Hokies. The game is sold out but will be televised on ACCNX.