Aug. 25, 2017
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia volleyball team (1-0) opened the 2017 season with a 3-0 (25-23, 25-17, 25-20) sweep over Hofstra (0-1) to open the Cavalier Classic on Friday night in Memorial Gymnasium.
The win marks the first for head coach Aaron Smith, as he became the third coach in UVA history to win in his opening match.
The Cavaliers had a balanced offensive night, hitting .287 as a team with 38 kills. Virginia held Hofstra to a .139 hitting percentage with 36 kills. The Cavaliers had eight blocks to seven for the Pride, while also having the advantage in digs (37-34).
“It was a very complete performance by our team tonight,” Smith said. “After being down 3-1 to start, we turned it on and for the next 75 points we earned, we were sharp. There were some moments we struggled, but we never game up and didn’t let Hofstra get the momentum. We were able to keep it for three-straight games. I told the girls we could not let up and they executed the game plan. This is the most fun I have ever had coaching a match and I am looking forward to many more.”
Freshman Sarah Billiard (Matthews, N.C.) led the Cavaliers with 14 kills on .458 hitting in her collegiate debut. Sophomore Kiley Banker (West Lafayette, Ind.) added eight kills with a .583 attack percentage. Sophomore Jelena Novakovic (Belgrade, Serbia) landed six kills and had eight digs in her UVA debut. Laura Masciullo led Hofstra with 13 kills.
“We had a couple of girls with very nice performances,” Smith said. “Sarah Billiard took some huge swings to get us out of trouble. I have been saying this the last couple of weeks, we are not going to rely on one player, we are going to need the whole team.”
Sophomore Jennifer Wineholt (San Diego, Calif.) paced the UVA offense with 30 assists and had two service aces. Sophomore Chino Anukwuem (East Hanover, N.J.) had four blocks and sophomore Kelsey Miller (Crestwood, Ky.) finished with a team-high 14 digs.
After Hofstra took a 3-1 lead to open the game, Virginia fought back to take a 5-4 lead after an ace by freshman Alex Spencer (Canton, Ohio). The Cavaliers then used a 7-1 run, that included three kills by Billiard, to lead 12-6. The Pride cut it back to two several times before eventually tying the set at 16-16. The teams saw two more ties before a 3-0 run put the Cavaliers up 22-19. Virginia held on to take the first set 25-23.
Virginia took the early lead in the second set and stretched out to a 12-4 advantage after a 6-0 run. The Cavaliers controlled the set all the way through to win 25-17 and take a 2-0 lead into the break. UVA hit .344 in the set with Anukwuem and Billiard each recording four kills.
The third set saw five ties and three lead changes. It was tied 9-9 before a 3-0 run gave Virginia a 12-9 advantage. Hofstra cut it to one, 14-13, but Virginia responded with a 5-0 run to lead 19-13 to force a timeout by the Pride. The Cavaliers capped off the final set with a kill by Billiard to secure the match with a 25-20 win.
The Cavalier Classic will continue tomorrow with the first game at 10 a.m. Virginia will play Liberty at 12 p.m. and close out the tournament against Villanova at 7 p.m.