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BLACKSBURG, Va. The Virginia volleyball team (10-7, 5-3 ACC) lost a hard-fought battle to in-state rival Virginia Tech Tuesday in Blacksburg. The Cavaliers dropped the fifth game 15-12.

Sarah Kirkwood led UVa with a match-high 18 kills. Teammates Tara Hester and Kendahl Voelker added 12 and 11 kills, respectively. Third year Shannon Davis also had a solid night with a match-high seven blocks and seven kills and Kelly Irvin recorded 44 assists.

The Cavaliers had five players in double figure digs, led by a season-high 30 from Kirkwood. Beth Shelton added 22 digs and Hester finished with 21. Rookies Irvin and A.J. Cushman each chipped in 10 apiece.

Virginia played without starting libero Melissa Caldwell and saw limited action from another starter, Lauren Dickson, who continues to battle an injury after missing both matches last weekend.

In the fifth game, Virginia took an early 5-2 lead after a service ace from freshman Sydney Hill and forced the Hokies to take a time out. UVa then led 6-2, but Virginia Tech came back and tied the game at seven.

A Virginia attacking error gave VT its first lead of the game, 10-9. The Cavaliers would respond and go up 11-10 following a block from Irvin and Hill. The Hokies, however, claimed four straight points to lead 14-11. Virginia got one back but VT’s Felicia Willoughby and Jen Albrecht recorded the game-winning block to give the Hokies a 15-12 game five win.

The Cavaliers are 2-2 on the year in matches that go to five games.

Virginia trailed most of game one. The Hokies jumped out to a quick 5-1 lead early in the contest and led by as many as six points, 18-12. The Cavaliers kept battling and a back-to-back kill and solo block from Davis tied the game at 28. With Dickson serving for game points, a Virginia Tech hitting error eventually gave UVa the game.

Game two was much of the same with VT starting out to another 5-1 lead and eventually led by 11 points, 13-2. UVa, like in game one, would answer and rally back to cut the lead to two points, 22-20. However the Hokies would not give up the lead and took the game 30-26.

Virginia Tech was also able to pull out game three, though the Cavaliers were able to get an early lead, including its largest of the game at 17-9. With a 20-13 advantage, the Hokies scored seven straight points to tie the match at 20. The two squads exchanged points before a double hit called on Virginia led to a 27-25 VT lead. The Cavaliers kept their deficit minimal and again tied the match at 31, but the Hokies scored their two points needed to claim the game when UVa’s attacking attempts were hit out of bounds.

After dropping two straight, Virginia fought back to claim the fourth game and send the match to a deciding fifth game. The Cavaliers claimed the first point of the game for the first time and took a 7-4 lead. Virginia Tech came back to tie the match at 10 and after back-to-back blocks took a 12-10 lead. Virginia got two consecutive kills from Kirkwood to go out in front 14-12 and eventually had a 19-13 advantage and never let Virginia Tech back in it, winning 30-21.

It was just the fifth time that a Virginia-Virginia Tech match had gone to five games. The Cavaliers are 2-3 all-time in those games.

The two teams split the 2007 series after Virginia won the first match, 3-0, back on Sept. 14.

Virginia will play host to NC State at 7 p.m. Friday in Memorial Gymnasium. Head coach Melissa Aldrich Shelton needs just one more win for her 100th ACC victory.

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