Virginia Falls to Saint Louis in Five Sets
Box Score Sept. 9, 2016
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Virginia volleyball team (3-4) fell to Saint Louis, 3-2 (25-18, 23-25, 21-25, 25-18, 15-12) on Friday night in the Bluegrass Battle at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Ky.
“We played hard and never quit, which was a big step for us,” head coach Dennis Hohenshelt said. “Our problem is we are one or two executed plays from winning that match. We need to continue to improve in that area and the wins will come. Our offense was much improved from last weekend and I feel good about the progress we made this week.”
The teams were tightly matched with Saint Louis (2-7) hitting .261 and Virginia finishing with a .258 hitting percentage. The Cavaliers had the advantage with 11 blocks to nine, but the Billikens led in service aces (6-3) and digs (68-59).
Four players finished with double-digit kills for UVA. Senior Haley Kole (Tallahassee, Fla.) led the team with 18, redshirt junior Alex Thorson (Spring, Texas) had 15, senior Jasmine Burton (West Hills, Calif.) had 13 and freshman Chino Anukwuem (East Hanover, N.J.) added a career-high 10.
Anukwuem had a solid night, hitting a team-best .833 attack percentage and adding a career-high seven blocks. Freshman Jennifer Wineholt (San Diego, Calif.) dished out 49 assists to guide the offense and contributed four blocks.
Virginia used a 7-1 run capped off by back-to-back aces by Burton in the first set to overcome an early deficit and take a 13-12 lead over Saint Louis. The teams traded points with five ties. With the set tied 17-17, the Billikens closed out the set on a 7-2 run to win 25-19 and take a 1-0 lead.
The Cavaliers got on the board first in the second set, jumping out to a 3-0 lead. The set was tied 6-6 when UVA scored two-straight points with a kill by Burton and block from Thorson and Anukwuem to take a slight edge, 8-6. Virginia extended its lead to 16-12 after back-to-back kills by Kole to force a Saint Louis timeout. Saint Louis cut the lead down to one, 24-23, but a kill by Burton secured the 25-23 win for the Cavaliers to tie the match at 1-1.
In the third set, Virginia took an 8-6 advantage after 3-1 run that included back-to-back blocks and a kill by redshirt junior Alex Thorson (Spring, Texas). The teams remained close and the Billikens tied the set at 14-14 but the Cavaliers used a 4-1 run that included back-to-back kills by Anukwuem to go up 18-15. With the set tied 20-20, Virginia used a 5-1 run win 25-21 and lead the match 2-1.
Momentum carried over into the fourth set as UVA opened up with a 6-1 lead, but Saint Louis fought back to tie the set at 8-8 and took a 12-10 lead as Virginia called timeout. The Cavaliers tied it up again, but a 6-1 run gave the Billikens an 18-13 lead. Saint Louis went on to win the set 25-18 and send the match to a tie-breaking fifth set.
It was a battle in the fifth set with eight ties in the first 16 points. Virginia fell behind 10-8 and pulled within one point several times but Saint Louis held on to take the win 15-12.
Virginia will be back in action tomorrow against tournament-host Kentucky at 11 a.m. ET. The match will be streamed live on the SEC Network+.