Cavaliers Drop Heartbreaker to St. Louis, 3-2
Sept. 11, 2015
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Virginia volleyball team led 2-0 in the match, but St. Louis came back to win the next three sets to defeat the Cavaliers, 3-2 (22-25, 14-25, 25-19, 25-18, 15-9), on Friday in Foster Auditorium at the Crimson-White Tournament.
“We weren’t great all day,” head coach Dennis Hohenshelt said. “I think we got a little lucky in the first game and just served them off the court in game two. Our upperclassmen need to do a better job of taking that momentum and building on it. We will earn from this and try to be better in the morning against a good Troy team.”
Virginia (4-2) struggled offensively, hitting .174 on the afternoon with 52 kills, while St. Louis (4-5) finished with 56 kills on a .209 attack percentage. St. Louis also had the advantage with nine service aces to six. The Cavaliers were strong at the net defensively, finishing with with 12 blocks to seven for the Billikens.
Senior Kayla Sears (Moorpark, Calif.) led the team with 13 kills, while junior Haley Kole (Tallahassee, Fla.) had 12 and sophomore Alex Thorson (Spring, Texas) added 10. Thorson finished with a team-high .429 attack percentage.
Senior Natalie Bausback (Carlsbad, Calif.) put down a career-high 10 blocks, including five solo blocks, to lead UVa at the net. It was the first time since 2011 that a player has recorded 10 blocks in a match. Junior Lexi Riccolo (Wheaton, Ill.) tallied a match-high 17 digs.
The teams were evenly matched to open the first set, but St. Louis created a little separation with a 7-3 run that put Virginia down, 11-8. It wasn’t long before the Cavaliers responded with a 5-0 run that was bookended by kills from Kole.
With the set tied 14-14, UVa had a 4-1 run that included a kill and an ace from Sears. Virginia held on to the lead and took the first set, 25-22.
The Cavaliers were out quickly in the second set with a 5-1 lead to force a St. Louis timeout. Virginia steadily increased its lead and was up 16-6 when the Billikens took their second timeout of the set. UVa cruised to a 25-14 win to take a 2-0 lead at the break.
St. Louis had to come from behind in the third set to win 25-19 and extend the match. Virginia was trailing early in the fourth set until it used a 4-0 to take a 9-8 advantage. The Billikens used their own run to push the lead back in their favor and held on to win 25-18 and send the match to a fifth set.
The Cavaliers fell behind St. Louis early in the fifth set as it used its momentum to jump out to an 8-1 lead. UVa cut the lead to 9-5 after back-to-back service aces from Bausback, but was unable to overcome the deficit as St. Louis held on for the 15-9 win.
Virginia will play two matches on Saturday in the Crimson-White Tournament. The Cavaliers take on Troy at noon before playing tournament-host Alabama at 8 p.m. ET. The match against Alabama will air live on ESPN3.