The Men of GT Swim and Dive finish fourth, ahead of Athens
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS — To be completely honest, this is going to be a pretty short column this week. As we’ve noted in past weeks, most of Tech’s sports are heading quickly into their winter breaks. However, the sports that are still active provided plenty of interesting things to talk about, and we have a pleasant update from the world of women’s club soccer.
As for a RECC update this week, I would love to talk about it, but it appears that the platform From the Rumble Seat is written on is unable to upload images currently. Lacking any way to visually demonstrate the week-over-week changes, let me just say that the trend is down, and it’s really mostly due to the reason one would think. We can simply swiftly move on to the content at hand.
Overall: 21-5 / Last Week: 0-1
Polls – AVCA Coaches: 13
Nerd Stuff – RPI: 6 | Massey: 14
It’s a tough week for Tech yet again, who were dealt back-to-back weeks of made-for-television Friday matchups against top 3 teams. Thus, there wasn’t much time to bounce back in terms of live gameplay after the road sweep at the hands of Louisville, but that didn’t show much in the first set against Pittsburgh. The Panthers, though, were clearly not fazed by falling in a one set hole, and rallied from an error-riddled and inefficient first set to take the next three straight.
In the bigger picture, Tech received a rather unfortunate conference draw, however, much like their much improved non-conference slate, it certainly makes them a well-tested volleyball team headed into the final two games of the ACC schedule. Where this is particularly poignant, though, is that the Miami Hurricanes, a team Tech beat 3-1 in their one matchup, now sit a game ahead of Tech for third in the conference standings. When looking at the conference strength of schedules, based off of either the ACC record or overall win percentage, Miami sits at 11th out of 15. Tech, depending on the measurement, is either 2nd or 3rd. This is of course, including the fact that Tech’s is that high while never having to play Georgia Tech. Tech needs to hold on to a top 16 spot in the selection committee rankings to receive the right to host a first round game, which is far more important, given that they are mathematically eliminated from the conference title, but it is still worth noting that they may get fourth, but with the necessary caveats noted.
Ultimately, there’s not a lot to critique from the gameplay side. Much like the recap of the men’s basketball game of Friday’s game in Athens, I refuse to pin an outsized amount of blame on the referee crew — truly, Tech still lost three sets — and by the time this happened I was mid-fight somewhere over Indiana so I can’t exactly judge the calls that were being made in the moment, but at least one fan had a colorful reaction to the referees late in the match and became the subject of a Jomboy Media breakdown.
It was a tough loss, not an embarrassing one, and Tech went 1-3 combined against teams ranked in the top three of the Coaches Poll on the season thus far. I’m not really sure what more you can ask from any team. At the beginning of the season, we defined a success criteria for Tech including a win in one of their four tries against Pitt and Louisville, but it likely is not quite as satisfying, given that they won the first.
Considering that 1-3 includes the best win of all time for the program, perspective is very important.
They’re 21-5 and should be on their way to a tournament bid. It’s time to take care of the rest of the business they have on their plate and play strong into December.
Overall: 4-1 / Last Week: 1-1
Polls – AP Poll: 18
Nerd Stuff – Massey: 42
Tech played two games this week, the first on the road at East Tennessee State University. There’s not much to say about the game, given that there Was no television broadcast, but it was nice to listen to the game, when possible, for spells on WREK, as their team always does a very nice job on the commentary and play by play details. Tech cruised to a solid win in the contest, 65-42.
On Sunday, a recently struggling Auburn team came into the Thrillerdome, and, well, let’s just say it was not a great start for Tech. After a 6-6 tie, Tech proceeded to go ten minutes, well into the second quarter, before the scored again. Even with a normally very reliable option, in this example, the humble layup, Tech was 3-11.
If the first quarter is discounted, Tech would win the game by five, which shows heart and a lot of commitment to getting back in the game, and that even includes the scoreless streak lasting a decent amount into the second quarter.
It’s not a great loss to take, but it was essentially the worst-case scenario for Tech, and they still almost came back and won it. We noted it last year after a loss to a not-great Boston College team, and that edition of the team still made the Sweet Sixteen. Sure, it’s not great, but it’s not catastrophic by any means. What remains more important, though, is that Tech bounces back strongly.
Swimming and Diving
Polls – Coaches: M: 19 | W: NR
Nerd Stuff – CAP: M: 28 | W: 43
Though the Tech women came in fifth out of seven teams and the men just fourth of five, the Jackets had a very productive weekend, with many NCAA cuts achieved and team records broken. It also helps that, among the pair of Florida schools, Auburn, and the school in Athens, the Tech men beat the last team on that list. In From the Rumble Seat’s proprietary CAP rankings, this is a particularly interesting result, as the Athenians had been a top 15 team coming into the weekend. Not really sure what happened, but, the field was stacked, and I’m sure Tech will take any wins over the Athenians they can snag.
As for the Jackets’ results in the pool, there were several notable swims, headlined by Christian Ferraro notching an A cut in the 200 Butterfly, which puts him in the enviable position of knowing that he not only is guaranteed to swim this event at Tech’s home NCAAs in March, but also any event he also has a B cut in. This is rarified air, as only a few A cuts are usually accrued by swimmers, and even fewer this early in the air. For those that forgot, B cuts are conditional, and subject to an invite process that we will certainly unbox closer to the NCAAs. With no qualifiers for Cross Country NCAAs and no official assignment given to volleyball yet, this makes Ferraro the first Tech athlete to qualify for an NCAA national championship this academic year, as FTRS noted on Twitter the other night.
In terms of other B cuts, though, Tech had an impressive slew of athletes, and set three other program records:
- Mert Kilavuz broke his second record in his fourth meet, knocking down another 2003 distance free record in the 1650
- Claudia Butterfield inches closer to going sub-1:00 (a major swimming milestone) in the 100 Breaststroke
- Berke Saka wins the 200 backstroke and sets the team record, showing his Olympic-level talent in the event can translate extraordinarily well to short course yards
In the table above, all swims resulting in an NCAA A or B Cut on the swimming side, a Zone Cut on the diving side, or a program record are shown. While more digging would have to be done to yield an apples-to-apples comparison to 2019, it seems that, at least on the individual level, Tech is swimming above where they were in the last pre-COVID season. It’s worth noting Caio Pumputis didn’t swim this weekend, but, other than that, the team looked to be rounding into form very well at the mid-season invite.
In the Club House:
In the rather friendly confines of the Atlanta IceForum, Tech played the role of visiting team against Kennesaw State, if the posted schedule is to be believed. Given that it was also Student Organization Night, I’m not sure. Regardless, The Jackets made themselves right at home, and they proceeded to thump the Owls 8-2. It was a great evening for Tech, and they move to 10-5 on the season.
Tech headed out to the NIRSA National Championship bracket, competing in the national bracket, rather than the open bracket. In it, Tech was able to compete in the Round of 16, and despite going down early in the first, made it a tie game at one goal apiece heading into the half. The Jackets, though, didn’t quite have enough offensive firepower to match Cal Poly, who put one in the net midway through the second half. Tech fell 2-1, and Cal Poly advanced, though Penn State would ultimately win the tournament.
11/27 — The School in Athens
11/24 — Clemson
11/26 — at Florida State
11/22 — Charleston Southern
11/26 — Georgia Southern
11/24 — Hofstra