Virginia Tops Maryland 3-1
COLLEGE PARK, Md. The Virginia volleyball team (17-11, 12-7 ACC) defeated Maryland Friday 3-1 at the Comcast Center Pavilion in College Park, Md. Fourth year libero Melissa Caldwell broke the 16 year-old career digs record against the Terps, finishing with a team-best 21 digs.
Needing 15 to break the mark, Caldwell did so on game point of the third contest. The Houston native, who replaced former Cavalier Anne Marie Hammers (1988-92) at the top of the list, now stands in first with 1,892 career digs.
“It’s a huge honor and a great way to end my senior season,” Caldwell said after the match. “I am so excited. It has been such a fun year. I am going to really miss being a part of this team.”
“Melissa has had a great career here,” said Virginia head coach Melissa Aldrich Shelton. “For her to finish at the top of the digs record is a fitting way for her to end her career. She has been our starting libero for four years and we are going to miss her next year.”
Game scores were 30-27, 14-30, 30-24 and 30-25. The loss for Maryland was just the second ACC defeat at home this season.
“Any win is a good win and we are happy to have one,” Shelton said. “Maryland is tough to play at home so we are happy to be loss No. 2 for them at home in the conference. Our usual starters played great and the people we have put in new roles stepped up.
Fourth year Katie Oakes and third year Shannon Davis led the Cavalier offense, recording 18 kills a piece, while rookie Kendahl Voelker tallied 13 kills and Beth Shelton finished with nine. First year Kelly Irvin tallied 57 assists and Caldwell added four service aces on the night.
A.J. Cushman and Shelton helped Caldwell pace the defense with 18 and 15 digs, respectively. Davis also finished with three blocks in the winning effort.
“I am so proud of our team,” Caldwell said. “We really came together and so many people stepped up. We made an outstanding effort to get the job done.”
In the first game, the Terps jumped out to an early 5-1 lead, but Virginia rallied back to tie the score at six. The Cavaliers then took a 15-11 lead after a kill by Sydney Hill. The four-point lead would be the largest of the game for UVa. Maryland came back with four straight points to eventually tie the game at 19-19 before jumping ahead 24-22. Virginia the went on a 4-0 run to take a 26-24 lead. The Terps would never get any close and the Cavaliers were able to stay ahead and claim the game 30-27.
The second game was dominated from the beginning by Maryland, who took a 10-4 lead before scoring eight straight points for an 18-4 lead. The Terps went on to take the game 30-14. The Cavaliers hit -0.83 in the third contest.
Virginia went ahead 2-1 after winning game three, 30-24. After trailing by as many as five, 19-14, Virginia rallied back to tie the match at 22. An Oakes kill gave the Cavaliers the lead for good. Three straight kills from Oakes, Shelton and Davis put the match out of reach, before Davis closed the game on a kill.
The Cavaliers went up early in game four, 5-2, after back-to-back service aces from Caldwell. After Maryland tied the match at seven and then took a one-point lead, 8-7, Virginia rallied with three straight points to go up 10-8. UVa would not fall behind again in the match and lead by as many as seven at two different points.
Jade Brown led Maryland (16-12, 8-11 ACC) with 17 kills while Maggie Schmelzle tallied a match-best 26 digs.
Virginia will play at Boston College at 7 p.m. Saturday in Chestnut Hill, Mass.