ATLANTA — #9 Georgia Tech Volleyball’s senior day game went without a hitch, beating the Syracuse Orange (2-25) in straight sets 3-0 (25-12, 25-20, 25-13), who only brought seven players to Atlanta due to a myriad of injuries to their squad.
Liv Mogridge returned to the starting lineup after making her return to the rotation on Friday in Tech’s 0-3 loss to Miami. After the weekend, Tech is now 22-5 with one match remaining in regular season play. With the win, Tech has surpassed the 21 wins last seasons team recorded, and that included an NCAA Tournament win over Wright State.
Ultimately, Syracuse is a team in a super bad place that needs some serious help, so this game was a cakewalk from the beginning. Even with a tight second set, Tech did not need to play anywhere close to their best volleyball, and at multiple points in the set visibly played more relaxed than they maybe should have.
Tech quickly took an early lead with a Patterson ace, then a block and kill by Bella D’Amico to go up 3-0. Mogridge and Manyang partnered for a block to make it 7-2 before Cuse had a few lucky bounces to rally to 8-4. A five point run for Tech put the Jackets back plenty ahead to go up 15-6, easily cruising to a 25-12 set win. Bertolino his a perfect 5/5 while the team hit .588.
2nd set (1-0 GT)
Syracuse managed to at least have a tie at 1-1, but multiple short runs by Tech with aces sprinkled in by Patterson, Otene, and Mogridge to go up 13-5. From there, the Jackets played at a very relaxed level, too relaxed actually. There were weird unforced errors and overly predictable, slow attacks that Cuse was able to put double blocks on. That enabled Cuse to get a three point run to make it 15-10 Tech, and then went on a six point run to make it 19-17 before finally Tech got into shape and took a 25-20 set win. Syracuse out hit Tech .150 to .133 in the set with Tech hitting way more errors than necessary (8).
3rd set (2-0 GT)
Tamara Otene appeared to have a medical issue of sorts right before the third set started, so she was replaced by Lauren Sanden and was checked on by the medical crew. She did not play in the set.
The errors of the second set continued in the third: service errors, getting worked by Cuse’s block, suboptimal setting, all of it. But, Tech was able to thread some good kills together to keep it close in the front end of the set, where Cuse forced ties at 7-7, 8-8, and 9-9 before a great in system kill by Anna Boezi jolted some energy into Tech put the Jackets up 11-9. A few points later, Collier switched to a 6-2 rotation with Heloise Soares at setter, which rode out the rest of the match winning 12 of the next 14 points to secure the sweep 25-13.
Kills: Veronica Sierzant (CUSE) - 10
Assists: Mira Ledermueller (CUSE)/Bella D’Amico (GT) - 16
Digs: Alyssa Bert (CUSE)/Tamara Otene (GT) - 7
Points: Liv Mogridge (GT) - 13
Hit % (min. 10 attempts): Liv Mogridge (GT) - .636
Blocks: Lauren McCabe (CUSE) - 6
After reflecting on this match and having an early Thanksgiving dinner, I don’t think it’s wise to read too much into this match. Emotions were really high after the senior day recognitions, Collier played an all senior lineup to start, and the vibes were just weird. Maybe the earlier start (12pm) was a factor, maybe some of the team got less sleep because of the football game, who knows. Either way, Syracuse is a truly terrible volleyball team undergoing a seriously rough point in their history, so mixing all the odd parts of this game together, it all comes out in the wash for me.
BUT, lest I forget to mention: we did see a good game from Liv Mogridge coming back to the starting lineup. That’s a massively encouraging sign going into the Louisville game on Wednesday. If by some miracle Tech can beat them again, I think there’s a shot Tech can be top 8 in the NCAA Tournament, potentially putting them in a slot to host regionals through the elite eight. Otherwise, I’ve got us sitting somewhere in the 9-12 range when the dust settles.
#9 Georgia Tech Volleyball next plays on Wednesday, November 22 at #4 Louisville at 5 p.m.
Jack Purdy is a non-revenue sports writer and co-host of Scions of the Southland for From the Rumble Seat. He previously served as The Technique’s assistant sports editor before graduating Georgia Tech in 2022. Follow Jack on Twitter @JackNicolaus