Volleyball Swarms Back, Downs Xavier in Comeback Win

Sept. 7, 2017

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THE FLATS – Georgia Tech volleyball (3-5) started off the Georgia Tech Invitational with a thriller, overcoming a 25-20 first-set loss to overcome Xavier (4-4), winning three-straight, 27-25, 25-11, 25-17, to close the match and end its three-match skid.

Gabriela Stavnetchei led with a match-high 15 kills – eclipsing the 100-kill mark to finish with 102 – while freshman Nicole Alford notched a career-high 18 assists on the night.

In an all-around team effort, Gabby Benda finished with a team-high 24 assists and Ashley Askin and Sam Knapp helped anchor the defense match-highs of 14 and 13 digs, respectively.

Head coach Michelle Collier says:
“I think we stayed patient out there. Xavier is a team, when they’re in system, they hit at a really high percentage and did that in the first game. Being able to pull out that second game was huge. That allowed us to calm our nerves a little bit and then just make sure we focused on those service lines. And so we started getting them out of system a little more with our serve and then that made it easier for our block and defense.

“Offensively, I thought we played really well. But their offense was just so efficient in the beginning that we weren’t able to slow them down. So it was good to get that second game and fight through it before getting into a rhythm with our block and serve to eliminate some of those options. So, I’m very proud of how they grew up through the match.”

How it happened:
The Yellow Jackets came out the gates with a slow pace and Xavier was able to capitalize, getting into its system from the start and holding on to a 25-20 win. The Musketeers kept Tech out of their rhythm the entire set, refusing to allow a single lead change or tie throughout.

Not to go down without a fight, however, The White and Gold exploded in the second to score the first two points. Xavier would claw back into what would prove to be a back-and-forth thriller, finishing with 13 ties and six lead changes.

After trailing 15-11, the Yellow Jackets went on a 10-2 run to jump to a 21-17 lead and suddenly control the set. Finding their groove offensively and keeping the Musketeers off balance, as kills came from a swarm of Jackets as Stavnetchei, Alford and Sydney Wilson all contributed in the run.

Despite taking a 23-20 lead, Xavier did manage to re-take the lead 24-23 in the set, but Georgia Tech showed resolve, going on a mini 4-1 run to finish out the set with the win.

The third set was largely all Georgia Tech. The Musketeers jumped out to a 4-2 lead to start, but the Yellow Jackets responded with a high-energy attack that led to a 12-1 run (the largest run by either team on the night), helped by eight unforced errors on Xavier and kills from Cori Clifton and Grace Rigsbee. Tech would go on to take the third set 25-11.

Xavier again jumped out to a quick start, going on a 4-1 run to force a Tech timeout. But the Yellow Jackets showed composure, resulting in their own 11-2 run coming out of the break to take command of the set.

The Musketeers would once again battle back, this time to within four, but a 5-0 run capped by a Kodie Comby allowed Georgia Tech to serve out the rest of the set and take the match 25-17.

Up next:
The Yellow Jackets finish up the Georgia Tech Invitational on Friday, Sept. 8, when it takes on North Florida at 1 p.m. and Kansas State at 8 p.m.

Quick Hits:

  • Freshman Nicole Alford finished with a career-high 18 assists (prev. 14 at San Diego)
  • Gabriela Stavnetchei crossed the century mark, now tallying a team-high 102 kills overall
  • The Yellow Jackets snapped a three-match losing streak
  • Tech improved to 3-2 in O’Keefe Gymnasium on the season
  • Tech finished with a season-high .273 attack percentage, also committing a season-low 15 attack errors on the day

For the latest information on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, follow us on Twitter (@GTVolleyball), Facebook (Georgia  Tech Volleyball) or visit us at www.ramblinwreck.com.

-#TogetherWeSwarm-