Aug. 26, 2017
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia volleyball team (2-1) fell to Villanova (3-0) 3-1 (25-20, 25-13, 19-25, 25-15) on Saturday night in the Cavalier Classic finale in Memorial Gymnasium.
“Villanova is a very good team and we knew they would be,” head coach Aaron Smith said. “They came out and were the aggressor, it wasn’t anything we were doing. Villanova didn’t allow us to get into a good rhythm. They kept us out of our system those first two games with their service pressure. We combatted that with service pressure of our own in the third set. We cleaned some things up and then fell back into some errors in set four. It is a young team that needs to learn how to win and embrace losing sometimes.”
Virginia trailed Villanova in hitting, .304-.152, with 39 kills to 58. Virginia had an 8.0-5.0 advantage in blocks, while the Wildcats led in digs, 54-49.
Freshman Sarah Billiard (Matthews, N.C.) led the Cavaliers with 10 kills. Eight different players finished with a kill for the Cavaliers. Two players hit in double-figures for Villanova.
Villanova jumped out to an early 6-1 lead in the opening set. The teams split four of the next eight points, yielding a 10-5 Villanova lead. Villanova settled in going up 17-8, using a 6-0 run to do so. This forced a UVA timeout. UVA would go on a 4-1 run to cut it to 22-16 as Villanova called a time out. Villanova went on to win the set 25-20.
Villanova struck quick in the second set, going up 3-0, and it expanded the lead to 7-3, before going up 13-7. Villanova’s lead continued to swell as it led 20-11. The lead grew as large as 12 with Villanova taking the set 25-13.
Out of the break, Virginia took the early 5-1 advantage in the third, using a 5-0 run. Virginia would take two points in a row to go up 8-3, and Villanova would call a timeout. The Cavaliers held an 11-6 lead after another run. UVA eventually stretched its lead to as many as eight, 20-12. Virginia took the set 25-19 to force a fourth set.
Villanova hopped out to a 4-2 lead to start the fourth set, and would push the edge to 8-4 and 10-5. Virginia followed by calling a timeout. Villanova’s lead reached 12-5 aided by a 7-1 run. A 3-0 run for Villanova enlarged the lead to 21-10 in the fourth set, and the Wildcast went on to win 25-15.
UVA had two players selected to the All-Tournament team, Miller and sophomore Jelena Novakovic (Belgrade, Serbia).
“Going 2-1 this weekend was good, we were a little streaky but overall I am happy with how we played,” Smith said. “Even though we came away with the loss tonight, we learned a lot about ourselves and how we need to compete when times are tough. We will be back next week and ready to fight.”
Virginia will be on the road next weekend for the Appalachian State tournament Friday, Sept. 1 and Saturday, Sept. 2 before returning home to host the Jefferson Cup Sept. 8-9.