Tech splits games at SEC foes Arkansas, UGA – Tech
After a win over then-No. 10 Brigham Young University (BYU) and a tough loss to then-No. 8 Ohio State, the Jackets were back in action this week against opponents from the SEC, Arkansas and Georgia.
Arkansas, ranked No. 24 in the nation, came into the game strong, having won six straight. This is the first time Arkansas has been ranked nationally in the past seven years. The Jackets failed to extinguish the Razorbacks’ hot streak.
Playing in Fayetteville, Ark. on September 15, the Jackets started slow in the first set. This has been a common theme for many matches this year. After dropping eight of the first 11 points, the Razorbacks stormed through and never looked back. They extended their lead to 10 at one point and won the first set 25-16.
This first loss did not discourage the Jackets. They came out firing in the second set and built a 17–8 lead. The Razorbacks didn’t come out of this game unscathed, winning 11 of the next 14 points and cutting the lead to one point. The Jackets and Razorbacks went back and forth until a service error gave Tech the set and tied the game 1–1, turning the match into a best of three.
The third set was a back-and-forth affair. It looked good for Tech early on, as the Jackets had an early advantage and continued that momentum with a 19-17 lead, but that was stopped by Arkansas, and the Razorbacks took the next six points and rolled to win a third set. . Arkansas maintained its momentum in the fourth series. The Jackets fought back, but it wasn’t enough and the Razorbacks won 25-20 and won game three sets to one.
Good efforts from senior Julia Bergmann and senior graduate Breland Morrissette were not enough to prove victorious. Bergmann had 22 kills and 11 digs while Morrissette had 10 kills in just 20 attempts. Sophomore Bianca Bertolino also added 17 digs and nine kills.
Tech was quick to forget the loss to Arkansas, as the Jackets traveled to Athens, Georgia for this year’s edition of Clean Old Fashioned Hate on Sept. 17. The start of the first set was familiar as the Jackets again struggled to get out of the gate. Trailing 12-10 early in the first set, the Jackets were able to fight back and take a 15-13 lead before the first media break. With that momentum, the Jackets surged to a 25-19 first-set victory.
The Jackets corrected their slow start to the first set and quickly took a 7-3 lead in the second set. The Whites and Ors made another run, winning eight of nine points and taking a decisive lead. The Jackets didn’t give up that lead and Tech won the second set, 25-17.
The Lady Jackets started the third set wanting to sweep their biggest rival. The third set started with the Jackets and Bulldogs back and forth until the Jackets were able to find their rhythm and take a small but decisive lead. That was all Tech needed, as they continued to trade points with Georgia until match point. The final point was won with a kill by Bertolino and Tech won the final set 25-21, securing the sweep over their state rivals.
Once again, Bergmann paved the way for the Jackets with help from juniors Tamara Otene and Bertolino. Bergmann had 16 kills and seven digs while Otene had 11 kills and a team-best .348 hit percentage. Bertolino added 16 recoveries and 10 eliminations.
The Jackets start this week’s conference game at home against ACC opponent Wake Forest (8-3) on Sept. 23 at 7 p.m.