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Oct. 19, 2006

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia volleyball team concludes a four-match homestand this weekend when it hosts Clemson and Georgia Tech at Memorial Gym. The Cavaliers begin the weekend with a 7:00 p.m. match against Clemson Friday (Oct. 20) and wrap up the homestand on Saturday (Oct. 21) against Georgia Tech at 5:00 p.m. Admission is free of charge.

Virginia enters the weekend with a 13-6 overall record and a 6-4 mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Last weekend, UVa snapped a two-match skid with a 3-0 win over Miami (Oct. 13), but fell to Florida State 3-0 the following evening to begin the homestand with a 1-1 record.

“Both Clemson and Georgia Tech are running extremely efficient offenses this season,” said 12th-year head coach Melissa Aldrich Shelton. “In order to defeat both of them we will have to control our first touch on the ball so we can utilize all of our attackers as well.”

Clemson enters Friday’s contest riding an eight-match winning streak and stands at 13-4 overall and 8-1 in the conference. The Tigers moved up to second place in the ACC standings after defeating Georgia Tech 3-0 (30-23, 30-25, 30-27) at home on Tuesday (Oct. 17). The Tigers lead the all-time series 30-12, but Virginia has won the last three meetings in the series. The Cavaliers took a pair of 3-2 victories last season, including overcoming a 2-0 deficit in the second meeting in Charlottesville on Nov. 24.

“As the top two blocking teams in the ACC, we are looking forward to the net game with Clemson,” said Shelton. “We believe the team with the smartest hitters will be the victors on Friday.”

Georgia Tech enters weekend play with a 10-9 overall record and a 2-7 mark in the ACC. The Yellow Jackets had their two-match winning streak stopped with a 3-0 loss at Clemson Tuesday (Oct. 17). Georgia Tech holds a 24-14 advantage in the all-time series and has won the last 11 meetings in the series. Last season, UVa fell 3-2 in Atlanta and 3-1 at home. The Cavaliers’ last victory in the series was a 3-2 triumph on Nov. 4, 2000 in Charlottesville.

“Georgia Tech is an extremely young team this year with only one senior on the court,” said Shelton. “They are a very talented group of players who are still looking to find their groove as a team. We are expecting a battle, as usual, between us and them.”

Third-year middle Katie Oakes (Lorton, Va./Evangel Christian School) is second in the country with an average of 1.83 blocks per game. Oakes also leads UVa in kills (221), attack percentage (.250), and points (298.5). Fourth-year setter Emily Kirkwood (Tampa, Fla./Plant) is averaging a team-best 12.97 assists per game and ranks 26th in the nation. As a team, UVa is 22nd among all Division I teams in service aces (2.25 per game) and 25th in blocks (3.17 per game).

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