Jackets Stifle No. 17 Spartans, 3-1

Aug. 26, 2017

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THE FLATS – Georgia Tech volleyball (1-2) had O’Keefe Gymnasium rocking on Saturday night as it stormed its way to a 3-1 victory over No. 17 Michigan State (2-1). Named to the preseason all-ACC team, senior Gabriela Stavnetchei was tagged to the Hyatt Regency Invitational All-Tournament team.

Georgia Tech volleyball wraps up its four-match homestand against North Dakota on Sunday at 4 p.m.

Head coach Michelle Collier says:
“It feels great to get that first win of the season. We have been talking about our preseason schedule and how hard it was going to be, but also how many opportunities we were going to have to play some teams who would really push us to raise our level and play better and the cool thing to see was our evolution through the weekend. We started against Auburn and it got better against Furman and then I think we played to our potential in this match. And when it’s early in the season, there’s so much room for growth in the things that we can do. I’m just very proud of the team’s resilience. They came out aggressive; they didn’t get intimidated by a Big 10 team. They went out there, they got after it and played really well. And it’s a very deserving win. They didn’t give it to us, we earned it, which is even better.”

How it happened:
The first set was a back-and-forth battle with 14 ties and eight lead changes. The Jackets and Spartans sat tied at 22-22 when an attack error put Tech ahead by one. A huge kill from Stavnetchei gave the Jackets the chance to serve for the set and Tech pocketed the set at 25-22. Tech hit at a .346 clip for the set over Michigan State’s .118.

Tech carried that momentum into the second, taking a 9-4 lead. Michigan State used a timeout to get back into the match, tying at 10-10. A kill from senior Ashley Askin and a service ace from senior Gabby Benda pushed Tech ahead but the Spartans pulled back within one at 15-14. Collier called a timeout and made it count, sparking a 6-2 run. Not to be counted out, Michigan State came back within one at 21-20 but a kill from Askin edged the Jackets ahead. Stavnetchei gave Tech set point and despite a late run from the Spartans, the Yellow Jackets took the set at 25-23 and the 2-0 lead.

The third set belonged to Michigan State. The Jackets fell behind early and despite getting some big points off long rallies, the Spartans took the set at 25-14.

It looked as though the fourth set was headed the same way as the third as Michigan State came out to a 5-1 lead. Despite the Spartans’ strong start, Tech held tough, overtaking them at 7-6 with a 7-2 run. Trading points to 10-10, a 6-2 run spurred Tech to a four-point advantage as Michigan State called a timeout after a kill from senior Sydney Wilson brought the match to 16-12. The Spartans brought it back within two at 20-18 but that was as close as it would get as Tech pocketed the set at 25-21, downing the Big Ten foe, 3-1.

Up next:
Tech wraps up its four-match homestand on Sunday, Aug. 27 when it hosts 2016 NCAA participant North Dakota at 4 p.m. in O’Keefe Gymnasium.

Quick Hits:
- The Jackets recorded their first win of the season.
- Collier recorded her first career-win over a top-25 opponent.
- It was Georgia Tech’s first win over a top-25 opponent since the 3-1 win over No. 18 Florida State on Oct. 4, 2013.
- In the 22-year history of O’Keefe Gymnasium, it’s just the 10 th time the Jackets have downed a nationally ranked opponent.
- The win over No. 17 Michigan State is the third-highest nationally ranked team to fall in O’Keefe at the hands of the Jackets (No. 8 Notre Dame in 1995; No. 14 Duke in 1997).
- No. 17 Michigan State is the highest nationally ranked opponent to be defeated by Georgia Tech at any venue since No. 17 Florida State in 2009.
- Stavnetchei recorded her 11th-career double-double and second of the season with 12 kills and 17 digs.

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