Cavaliers Head West to Face Three Nationally Ranked Opponents
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia volleyball team will face three-straight nationally ranked opponents for the first time in program history this weekend, as the Cavaliers head to the west coast to take on No. 25 San Diego, No. 8 USC and No. 23 Long Beach State. The Cavaliers will open the road trip on Thursday, playing San Diego at Long Beach State University. Virginia will then head north to play at USC on Friday, before returning to Long Beach State to face the 49ers on Saturday. All matches are scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. Eastern Time, with live statistics available at VirginiaSports.com.
Virginia enters the weekend with a 5-1 record and two tournament titles this year. The Cavaliers swept the Temple Invitational to open the season and posted a 2-1 record in the Holiday Inn Jefferson Cup to win their 12th Jefferson Cup title in the 20-year history of the tournament.
Three Cavaliers lead the ACC in four statistical categories this season. Sophomore Jess O’Shoney leads the league in both hitting percentage (.470) and blocks per set (1.42), while junior Simone Asque tops all players with 4.67 kills per frame and senior AJ Cushman leads the way with 5.25 digs per set.
San Diego (2-3) has dropped three contests this season, but all to nationally ranked opponents – No. 5 Hawaii (3-2), No. 16 UCLA (3-0) and most recently, No. 11 California (3-0). The Toreros are led by Amy Degroot’s 59 kills and 47 digs, while Kelsi Myers has dished out 161 assists.
Southern California (6-0) is coming off a five-set upset win over No. 4 Hawaii on Sunday in front of 7,866 fans at the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic. The Trojans captured the tournament title behind the play of Alex Jupiter, who registered 22 kills and 16 digs in the match and was named the tournament MVP for her play throughout the weekend. The national player of the week this week, Jupiter leads USC with a 4.33 kills per set average, while Natalie Hagglund anchors the defense with 79 digs. Lauren Williams leads the team in blocks, collecting 21, while Kendall Bateman has distributed 256 assists.
Long Beach State (5-1) enters the weekend after most recently dropping a five-set contest at No. 2 Texas. The 49ers were down two sets, but rallied to force a fifth game before falling 15-11 in the final frame. All-tournament honoree Caitlin Ledoux led LBSU in the contest with 22 kills and also tops the team with 4.26 kills per set this year. Ashley Vazquez runs the offense and has dished out 246 assists, while Haleigh Hampton has blocked 40 attacks. Janisa Johnson and Lauren Minkel have collected 86 and 84 digs, respectively.
This will mark the first time in program history the Cavaliers have faced USC and Long Beach State, while it will be the sixth meeting all-time with the Toreros. San Diego leads the series with Virginia, 4-1, with the Cavaliers’ lone victory coming in 1989. San Diego earned wins in 1987, 1994, 2002 and 2007.
Following this weekend, Virginia will return home to host the Marriott Cavalier Classic. The Cavaliers will face Virginia Tech on Friday, Sept. 17 in the ACC opener and George Mason on Saturday, Sept. 18. Both matches are slated to begin at 7 p.m.