Virginia Falls 3-1 to Northwestern in Cavalier Classic Finale
Box Score Aug. 27, 2016
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia volleyball team (2-1) fell to Northwestern 3-1 (25-17, 19-25, 25-19, 25-17) on Saturday night in the final match of the Cavalier Classic at Memorial Gymnasium.
“It was a good opening weekend because we were able to learn a lot about ourselves from where we were earlier in the week,” head coach Dennis Hohenshelt said. “I hope these guys see the potential they have to be a good volleyball team. Northwestern is a good team and what I want them to understand from these games is this is what it takes to battle for NCAA tournament spots. We battled and competed and I was proud of our effort tonight.”
Virginia struggled offensively, hitting just .121 to Northwestern’s .320 hitting percentage. The Cavaliers had a strong night at the net with 11 blocks to seven and led with six service aces to three, while Northwestern had the edge in digs (44-39).
Redshirt junior Alex Thorson (Spring, Texas) led UVA with a career-high 13 kills on a .375 hitting percentage. Thorson also tallied three blocks in the contest. Senior Haley Kole (Tallahassee, Fla.) continued her hot-hitting weekend with 12 kills.
Defensively, Kole joined freshman Kiley Banker (West Lafayette, Ind.) and redshirt junior Meghan McDowell (Clarendon Hills, Ill.) with four blocks each. Senior Lexi Riccolo (Wheaton, Ill.) led the back line with 11 digs and freshman Kelsey Miller (Crestwood, Ky.) added a career-high 10.
Northwestern used a 5-1 run to take an 8-4 advantage early in the first set. Thorson had back-to-back kills to cut the lead to two, but the Wildcats countered with another run and stayed in control to take the first set 25-17.
UVA came out strong in the second set to jump out to a 4-0 lead that included back-to-back aces by Riccolo. The Cavaliers continued to push the tempo as they went up 13-8 after a block by Banker and McDowell. UVA forced a Northwestern timeout after taking a 16-11 lead on an ace by Banker. Virginia didn’t allow the Wildcats to get any closer than six points and tied the match at 1-1 with a 25-19 win.
After going down 3-1 in the third set, UVA used a 4-0 run to take the lead 5-3 after another block by Banker and McDowell. Northwestern tied it up at 5-5 as the teams traded points until a 4-0 run gave the Wildcats an 11-9 lead. Down 18-13, Virginia used a 3-0 run to cut the lead to 18-16 and force a timeout by the Wildcats. UVA then cut the 20-19 after an ace by McDowell, however Northwestern closed out the set on a 5-0 run to win 25-19 and lead the match 2-1.
The Cavaliers fell behind 6-2 early in the fourth set and Northwestern extended its lead to 13-8 to force a Virginia timeout. The Cavaliers were not able to overcome the deficit as Northwestern secured the match and tournament title with a 25-17 win.
“It was great playing in front of a big crowd tonight that supported us throughout the entire match,” Hohenshelt stated. “We will continue to get better with our execution and we look forward to going down to LSU on Thursday and battling with LSU, UConn and Southern Miss.”
Virginia will begin a three-week road swing with the LSU Tiger Classic next weekend, Sept. 2-3. The Cavaliers will face Southern Miss and LSU on Friday and conclude against UConn on Saturday.