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RICHMOND, Va.—The Virginia volleyball team dropped a tough five-set match at VCU Friday evening, 25-20, 19-25, 19-25, 25-22, 15-13, on the first day of the VCU/Third Degree Sportswear Invitational. “I’m disappointed because I thought we had chances,” UVa head coach Dennis Hohenshelt said.

“We showed a lot of fight tonight especially when down 7-1 in fifth with no timeouts. To get back to 11-11 and to see them fight back, it’s a big step for us. I’m not happy, because we lost, but I have good feelings coming out of tonight.”

Sophomore Tori Janowski (Sterling, Va.) earned Virginia’s first triple double since 2000, recording 22 kills, 17 assists and 10 digs. Jenny Harmon had UVa’s last triple-double with 12 digs, 11 kills and 10 blocks against Liberty on Oct. 10, 2000.

“We’ve come a long way since the beginning of the season and it’s good to see the fight we showed,” Janowski said.

Junior captain Emily Rottman (Santa Barbara, Calif.) led the Cavaliers with 22 digs, while senior Rachel Gray (Shawnee, Kan.) led the squad with 31 assists and 16 digs. Freshman Natalie Bausback (Carlsbad, Calif.) hit 12 kills, senior Jessica O’Shoney (Austin, Texas) had 10 and freshmen Kayla Sears (Moorpark, Calif.) and Vivian Burcescu (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.)tallied nine and eight, respectively.

“I’m excited Tori got a triple-double, I thought she was very good tonight,” Hohenshelt said. “I also thought Rotty (Emily Rottman) was good tonight with 22 digs and our outsides are starting to score for us. We’re a better team than any point last weekend.”

After the two teams were tied at 16, VCU went on a 9-4 run, including three blocks to win the first set, 25-20.

In the second, Virginia jumped out to a 9-5 lead, with three points coming from blocks after not earning a block in the first set.The Cavaliers hit .303 in the frame and held the Rams to a .054 hitting percentage on the way to a 25-19 win.

After the Rams closed the Cavalier lead to one at 19-18 in the third, UVa went on a 6-1 run to win 25-19. Janowski had three kills in the final run.

In the fourth, the Rams led 22-18, but the Cavaliers cut the lead to one at 22-21. The Rams followed with a kill and an ace, but O’Shoney earned a kill to cut the lead to 24-22 before VCU won the set on a kill.

In the fifth and decisive set, the Rams jumped out to a 5-1 lead to force a UVa timeout. After two more VCU points and another time out, kills from Bausback and O’Shoney and a Ram error cut the lead to 7-4. After VCU would extend the lead to 11-7, the Cavaliers would come back again, earning four points in a row to force a Ram timeout at 11 all.

Out of the timeout, VCU won three of four points to lead, 14-12. A Janowski kill cut the lead to 14-13, but a Kristin Boyd kill won the match for VCU, 15-13. Boyd led VCU with 14 kills. The Rams had 17.5 blocks to UVa’s six, while committing 24 errors to Virginia’s 33.

The Cavaliers return to action Saturday (Sept. 8) for the final day of the VCU/Third Degree Invitational when they face Georgetown at 10:30 a.m. and Appalachian State at 4:30 p.m.

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