After moving up two spots on Monday in the latest AVCA Top 25 rankings, the now #11 Georgia Tech Volleyball defeated Virginia Tech 3-0 (25-16, 25-14, 25-21). The win was Head Coach Michelle Collier’s 101st ACC win at The Flats, surpassing Shelton Collier to become the program all-time leader. She now accounts for 30.2% of Tech’s all-time ACC wins.
The win also moves Tech’s record to 12-1 (3-0 ACC) on the season, joining #5 Louisville as the only ACC teams with 12 wins as of writing. Offensively, Tech was able to share the load evenly, hitting .353 with Larissa Mendes leading with 12 kills, while Tamara Otene, Bianca Bertolino, and Liv Mogridge all had eight. Tech also hit 11 aces, Bertolino leading with four. She also lead Tech in points with 12.5.
I don’t want to bash on Virginia Tech, but they did make life super easy for Tech today. For the first two sets, they had minimal attacking prowess, could not block or dig when Tech was in system, and didn’t have a serving weapon to put Tech on the back foot. They came around in the third set, but it was much too little too late.
Both sides traded the first twelve points before Tech went on a five point run to go up 11-6 on kills by every attacking starter and two aces by Paola Pimentel. The Jackets followed it with another five point run to go up 16-10. Virginia Tech’s defense never showed its face during the set, as Tech was able to go on cruise control and took the set 25-16. Tech hit .607 with 21 kills lead by Larissa Mendes with five. Of note, D’Amico’s setting errors from last week continued to show, as she gave away two ball-handling errors in the set.
Tech came out hot in the second set, specifically Bertolino. She landed a kill on the first point, and then hit two aces during her service rotation where Tech went up 5-0, forcing a Hokie timeout. A Liv Mogride ace grew the lead to its initial set high at 8-1 before the Hokies clawed a few points back in part due to another D’Amico setting error, cutting the lead to six before they called their second timeout down 12-6. The steamrolling continued from there as Georgia Tech used a four-point run and three-point run to take absolute control of the set and eventually won 25-14, hitting .347 with seven aces in the set.
Virginia Tech began showing some life in the third set, keeping it close early and going on a three-point run to take a 10-9 lead, the most significant lead in a set all day for them. After some back and forth tying the game at 12, the Jackets finally had a run to go up 17-14 to force a Hokie timeout. Any potential Virginia Tech momentum got stifled by a powerful Bianca Bertolino kill to go up 19-16, and then Mendes hit back-to-back kills to put Tech up 23-17. On the next point, Liv Mogridge lannded on Larissa Mendes’ right foot after a block attempt, and had to leave the game with an injury to her right leg. Anna Boezi subbed in for her.
Virginia Tech went on a four point run immediately after Mogridge’s injury. For a second, it looked like the Hokies had a fifth consecutive point, but the corner judge mistakenly called a VT attack in that was out. After the call was corrected, Tech’s lead was 24-21, and took care of the set on the next point, winning 25-21 to complete the sweep.
- Taking care of the basics: I recycle this point a lot during the easier games, but the great teams do the little things well during the easy games. Tech did that today, looking much more like themselves offensively with the firepower they have, even with
- Some history: With her 101st ACC win, and plenty more to come this season, Michelle Collier is further padding her resume as the best head coach in Georgia Tech Volleyball history. Georgia Tech is becoming a landmark destination for volleyball players around the world to come play at, and it Collier is making that a reality.
- The potential impact of Mogridge’s injury: As of now, we haven’t received word as to how severe Liv Mogridge’s injury is and if she’ll be able to play on Sunday. In the case where she can’t play, we could see Smiley Manyang join the starting lineup in her place. Going into today’s game, Manyang had 29 kills in 22 sets, hitting .308 with six blocks. She added six more kills today. In the case Collier wants to keep Manyang on the bench for when she reverts to a 6-2 formation(which she did in each set today), then Anna Boezi would be my prediction to join the starting seven.
Georgia Tech Volleyball next plays on Sunday, October 1 at Wake Forest at 1 p.m. on ACCNX
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