UVa Sweeps NC State 3-0
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. The Virginia volleyball team (11-7, 6-3 ACC) swept NC State 3-0 Friday at Mem Gym. The win was the 100th career Atlantic Coast Conference victory for head coach Melissa Aldrich Shelton. Game scores were 30-19, 30-15 and 30-27.
Virginia saw libero Melissa Caldwell return to the starting lineup after missing the Virginia Tech match earlier in the week. Outside hitter and Lauren Dickson also played in all three games but in a limited capacity.
Third year Shannon Davis paced the Cavaliers with a match-high 14 kills while hitting .522 against NC State. Kendahl Voelker and Sarah Kirkwood each had nine kills and Tara Hester added eight. Setter Kelly Irvin tallied 40 assists on the night. Kirkwood also led the team with a match-best six service aces.
Defensively, Caldwell led Virginia with a match-high 14 digs, 10 of which came in the first game. Kirkwood and Irvin recorded 10 and nine digs, respectively.
“I thought we came out really strong in game one, and that is really the first time we have had such a great start,” Virginia head coach Melissa Aldrich Shelton said. “I thought we were emotionally ready and played well. It was a good match to give everyone a little experience at this point in time. Any win is a good win in my book.”
The Cavaliers jumped ahead to an early 9-1 lead in game one and held their lead throughout. In a last-minute effort, the Wolfpack tallied five consecutive points to bring the score to 28-19 but two quick points put Virginia on top. The Cavaliers hit .333 and recorded 20 digs in the first game.
The Wolfpack responded with an early offensive charge in the second game, bringing them within one point of the Cavaliers at 7-6. Virginia quickly answered back with powerful attacking. Kirkwood then recorded four aces in a row to put the Cavaliers up 21-9. Overwhelmed by the Cavalier offensive, the Wolfpack was unable to respond and Virginia won the game 30-15.
The Cavaliers maintained their momentum deep into the third game. However, NC State challenged Virginia nine eight straight points to bring the score to 28-26. A Davis kill gave UVa the chance for game point, but the Wolfpack then responded with a kill of their own. Davis tallied her 14th kill on the next play to put the game away and give Virginia the win.
“After the Virginia Tech loss, we had a good week, watched a lot of film, and talked about what we needed to improve. I think we had a lot more energy tonight,” Davis said after the match. “We were on fire tonight. NC State is a good team but we just came out and could not be stopped. Our passing was awesome, and Kelly (Irvin) was spreading the ball around a lot, which really helped.”
Lauren Zaniboni led NC State (3-15, 0-8 ACC) with 11 kills while Chrissy Zirpolo added 12 digs.
The Cavaliers will play host to North Carolina at 1 p.m. Sunday in Mem Gym.