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2022 NCAA Volleyball Tournament Second Round Preview: #4 Marquette vs #5 Georgia Tech

Can the Golden Eagles get past the Yellow Jackets for their 2nd Sweet 16 appearance in program history?

We used two pictures of the Yellow Jacket mascot for the men’s basketball game, so here’s a picture of the Ramblin’ Wreck.
Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

2022 NCAA Volleyball Tournament

Second Round

#4 Marquette Golden Eagles (28-3, 17-1 Big East) vs #5 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (21-7, 13-5 ACC)

Date: Friday, December 2, 2022
Time: 6pm Central
Location: Al McGuire Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Streaming: ESPN+
Live Stats: because the NCAA is super weird about just letting you see stats like a normal person for the tournament, but I bet a smart person could wander around this website and find a better link if they know where to look.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteVB

All Time Series: This is the first ever meeting.

Marquette remains undefeated in NCAA tournament matches in Milwaukee.

The Golden Eagles beat High Point and Cincinnati back in 2018 to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time in program history, partially because they won the right to play the first two rounds at home that year. They did that part again this year, and then ran their record to 3-0 in the NCAA tournament at the McGuire Center after a 3-0 sweep of Ball State on Thursday night. With that in the rear view window, Carsen Murray and the Golden Eagles will try to run their unblemished NCAA record at home to 4-0 against Georgia Tech on Friday night.

Georgia Tech arrived in Milwaukee after a 20-7 regular season as the ACC doesn’t play a conference tournament. They had a bit of a shaky close to the slate, losing three of their final five contests... but they were 1) on the road against a Miami team that made the NCAA tournament, 2) at home against then-#5 Louisville, and 3) at then-#7 Pitt. We’ll allow it. GT went into Selection Sunday as the #3 RPI team in the ACC, trailing only top 3 squads Louisville and Pitt. The Yellow Jackets were #20 in the RPI, boosted by playing six contests against Top 25 teams... but they did lose all six. As you can tell, they did go 20-1 against the rest of their schedule, with the loss to #35 Miami in Coral Gables as their only other slip up.

On Thursday night, they dispatched Wright State in straight sets, 25-13, 25-14, and 25-17. Erin Moss led the Yellow Jackets with 12 kills, which is quite good for a three set match, and Julia Bergmann got to double digits as well with 10. As you might have guessed from the set scores, Georgia Tech walloped the Raiders, outhitting them .252 — including a very silly .733 from Moss — to just .061. They provoked WSU into 21 attacking errors on just eight total blocks, but you have to figure that the eight actual stuffs for points were doing a pretty good job causing a lot of the other 13.

It turns out to be a bit of a surprise that Moss was the leader on the night, as Bergmann is averaging 5.25 kills per set this season. That’s more than three kills past Moss’ second best on the team season average of 2.19, and it’s just a little bit down from the 5.31 that had her as the #3 attacker in the country through November 26th. As you would expect, GT’s offense is wildly and heavily directed in Bergmann’s direction all the way to the point where Moss is the only player on the roster who has more kills (219) than Bergmann has errors (205). She’s not even error prone as she’s hitting .254! It’s just that 37% of all the swings on the season for the Yellow Jackets have been taken by Bergmann.

Path to victory: Don’t let her get to 10 kills.

Isabella D’Amico is the setter, racking up 10.17 assists per frame this season. Georgia Tech’s defense is a little bit by committee, as libero Paola Pimentel leads in digs with just 3.67 per set. There are two teammates — including Bergmann! — who average more than two per frame and two more who are north of a dig per set. Moss and Breland Morrissette make for an imposing pair at the net, with both women coming into Friday night averaging more than a block per set this season.