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COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Virginia volleyball team dropped its season opening match to Northern Iowa, 3-0, on Friday afternoon at the Texas A&M Invitational. The Panthers controlled the first two sets 25-12 and 25-14, respectively, before the Cavaliers rallied for extra points in the third set, but eventually fell 27-25.

Senior Lauren Dickson and sophomore Simone Asque paced the Cavaliers’ attack, each knocking down eight kills, while freshman Rachel Gray – making her first collegiate start – distributed 20 assists. Freshmen Tobi Farrar and Jess O’Shoney also made their first collegiate start for the Cavaliers.

Defensively, senior Brittani Rendina collected 21 digs, while Dickson had 12.

Aschoff led Northern Iowa with a double-double, knocking down 10 kills to go with 15 digs. Ellie Blankenship led five Panthers in double-digit digs, with 19, while Bre Payton dished out 33 assists.

Northern Iowa started the match on a hot streak and led by 10 after back-to-back service aces forced Virginia to call a timeout at 16-6. The margin was too large to overcome though, as the Panthers maintained their advantage, en route to a 25-12 victory.

The beginning of the second set was much closer, but a 7-0 run midway through the frame plagued the Cavaliers and UNI was able to cruise to a 25-14 final score.

Virginia regrouped before the third set and worked to force nine tie scores, in addition to a 20-17 advantage late in the game. The Panthers evened the score at 20 though, and then traded points with the Cavaliers before back-to-back kills from Aschoff secured the match win for UNI at 27-25.

The Cavaliers will look to rebound tonight, facing host Texas A&M at 7 p.m. ET. Live stats can be found here and live video can be accessed here.

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