Sept. 24, 2017
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The Virginia volleyball team (4-9, 0-2 ACC) was edged in five sets, 3-2 (20-25, 25-21, 25-17, 23-25, 15-11), by Miami (8-0, 2-0 ACC) on Saturday afternoon at the Knight Complex in Coral Gables, Fla.
Virginia won the opening set before Miami came back to win the next two and lead the match 2-1. The Hurricanes were up in the fourth set, but UVA used a 7-0 run to take the lead and eventually the set to send it to the decisive fifth set. Miami took the early lead and Virginia was unable to come back as Miami took the win.
“We are locked in on getting better and we got better this weekend,” head coach Aaron Smith said. “It is tough to take a loss anytime, but the girls made progress this weekend against two very strong teams.”
The Cavaliers had seven different players record kills. Sophomore Jelena Novakovic (Belgrade, Serbia) led UVA with 17 kills. Freshman Alex Spencer (Canton, Ohio) had a double-double with 14 kills and 14 digs, while adding two aces and two blocks. Olga Strantzali led Miami with 21 kills.
Virginia was trailing Miami, 8-5, but mounted a 7-0 run that included two aces by sophomore Jane Horner (Mission Viejo, Calif.), two kills and a block to give UVA the 12-8 lead. Miami cut the lead back to one, 13-12, on a 4-1 run. The teams traded points until a 6-1 run gave the Cavaliers a 22-16 advantage. Miami cut the lead to three, but kills by Spencer and redshirt sophomore Kat Young (Chantilly, Va.) secured a 25-20 win for Virginia.
It was close to begin the second set, then Virginia struck first with three-straight points to lead 6-4. Miami had five of the next six to go in front, but the Cavaliers responded right back with a 3-0 run to retake the lead, 10-9. Virginia was up 12-10 when Miami had another run to push the set in its favor. After several ties, the Cavaliers were back in the lead 16-14 with kills by Young and junior Harley Sebastian (Atlanta, Ga.). UVA was leading 20-17, but Miami finished the set on an 8-1 run to take the set 25-21 and tie the match 1-1.
Miami scored the first three points of the third set, but Virginia came back to tie it up 4-4. The Cavaliers and Hurricanes remained close until a 5-0 run put Miami in the lead 13-7. UVA would score six of the next seven points to cut it to 14-13, capped off by an ace for Spencer. Miami would stretch its lead back out to 17-14. UVA cut the lead to two several times but Miami scored five-straight points to win the set 25-17.
Virginia had back-to-back kills by sophomore Chino Anukwuem (East Hanover, N.J.) and Sebastian to tie the fourth set 4-4. An ace by freshman Megan Wilson (Brookeville, Md.) kept the set tied, but Miami would take a 10-8 lead with two-straight points. The Cavaliers had two-straight kills by Novakovic to tie it again. UVA took a 13-12 lead with a 3-0 run, but Miami had one of its own to go ahead 15-13. Novakovic’s fifth kill of the set sparked a 7-0 run that included a kill and solo block for Spencer. Miami closed the gap to 20-19 on a 3-0 run as UVA called timeout. Spencer and Young each had kills out of the break as UVA led 22-19. Virginia had two set-points as Miami closed it to 24-23, but a kill by Novakovic gave UVA the 25-23 win to send it to a fifth set.
Miami took the early lead in the fifth and used a 5-1 run to go ahead 8-4. The Cavaliers would get as close as three, but the Hurricanes took the fifth set 15-11 to clinch the match.
UVA finished with a .204 hitting percentage to .250 for Miami. The Hurricanes had the advantage in aces (10-6) and blocks (9-8), while Virginia led in digs (50-47).
“We will review the film, make some tweaks and be better on Wednesday night when we host Virginia Tech,” Smith said. “We will need Memorial Gymnasium to be a tough place to play like always, so hope our fans will be out in full force as we host a Commonwealth Clash match.”
Virginia will return home for its ACC home-opener against Virginia Tech in a Commonwealth Clash on Wednesday, Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. in Memorial Gymnasium. The match will be streamed live on ACC Network Extra.