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DENVER, Colo For the second time today, the Cavaliers went up 2-0 in the match and fell in the third and fourth set to rely on a deciding game. Against Iowa, the Virginia volleyball team wasn’t as fortunate as earlier in the day, as it dropped a 15-9 decision to the Hawkeyes to conclude the Denver Pioneer Invitational with a 1-2 record.

“I think that we had an opportunity to be in a position to win every match that we played this weekend,” head coach Lee Maes said. “We started well against Denver, just didn’t create many opportunities to win that match. We then responded well against Tennessee this morning, and tonight, we started extremely well. We executed our game plan very well, but we couldn’t find our consistency.

“We had some fatigue and some trouble sustaining our effort for a long period of time but, we’re still learning how to do that. Unfortunately, when we put as much effort in as we did to gain a two-game lead on Iowa, and then not being rewarded by winning the match, it’s disappointing. All we can ask for is to get over the hump and find consistency in our performances.”

Third-year Lauren Dickson (Austin, Texas) led the Cavaliers with her second-consecutive double-double, landing a match-high 17 kills to go with a team-high 20 digs.

Fourth-year Marlow Bruneau (Lakeville, Minn.) also contributed a double-double, dishing out 38 assists and collecting 12 digs, while fourth-year Shannon Davis (Austin, Texas) knocked down 15 kills.

Defensively, the Cavaliers out-blocked the Hawkeyes, 16.5-9, led by Davis and Bruneau, who each collected five blocks. Second-year Kendahl Voelker (Fort Myers, Fla.) and fifth-year Beth Shelton (Cincinnati, Ohio) each blocked four attacks.

In the back row, second-years Brittani Rendina (Lisle, Ill.) and Kelly Irvin (Pacific Palisades, Calif.) dug 15 and 10 attacks, respectively.

Iowa (3-3) was led by four attackers in double-digit kills, including Megan Schipper and Laura Kremer, who each contributed 14. Emily Hiza led the defensive effort with 21 digs.

For the match, the Cavaliers’ play at the net led them to a 25-15 in the opening set. The squad hit .231 for the frame, while the defense held the Hawkeyes’ attack to a .000 attack percentage, blocking seven attacks and collecting 14 digs. Virginia gradually extended its 10-5 lead throughout the match to 10, thanks to a 5-1 run to close the frame with a 25-15 victory.

The second stanza was much closer, as Iowa rallied to keep the score even. But with a 19-19 score, Virginia broke open the set with a 6-1 run, rolling to a 25-20 win.

Virginia struggled early in the third frame, falling behind 11-4, before working to string together seven-straight points and knot the score at 13, before taking a one-point advantage at 14-13. That would be the only advantage that the Cavaliers would hold, though. Iowa responded with an 8-1 run to take a 24-17 lead. Virginia rallied for four-straight points, but it wasn’t enough as Katie Kennedy landed a kill to secure to set win, 25-21, for the Hawkeyes.

Iowa’s offense carried the Hawkeyes through the fourth frame. The beginning of the game was neck-in-neck, until Iowa’s attack, hitting .306 for the match, landed five kills in seven points to take a 19-15 lead. The deficit was too much for the Cavaliers to overcome, as the Hawkeyes took a 25-21 victory to force a fifth set on Virginia for the second time in as many matches.

Fatigue got the best of the Cavaliers in the deciding game, as Iowa jumped out to an 8-2 lead. The Hawkeyes capitalized on Virginia errors throughout the set, leading Iowa to a come-from-behind 15-9 victory over the Cavaliers.

For her efforts throughout the weekend, Davis was named to the all-tournament team.

Virginia (4-2) will return to action next weekend, as they play host to the Marriott Jefferson Cup. Appalachian State, Binghamton and Virginia Commonwealth will each visit Charlottesville, with matches beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Friday. Virginia will open play against VCU at 7 p.m. on Friday evening.

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