Sept. 27, 2017
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia volleyball team (4-10, 0-3 ACC) fell 3-1 (25-27, 25-10, 25-18, 25-21) to Virginia Tech (7-7, 1-2 ACC) on Wednesday night in Memorial Gymnasium.
“Tonight was a little disheartening after the way we played last weekend,” head coach Aaron Smith said. “I felt like we were playing some really good volleyball coming back from our road trip. We were excited to be back on our home court so I was not thrilled to see us play like we did. We played well in the first set, but looked like we got tired and let Virginia Tech do what they want.”
The Cavaliers took the first set, but the Hokies came back to win the next three and take the first of two matches in the Commonwealth Clash. Virginia was out-hit .339-.163. The Hokies led in service aces (7-3), blocks (7.0-6.0) and digs (49-44).
Sophomore Jelena Novakovic (Belgrade, Serbia) led UVA with 16 kills on a .433 hitting percentage. Redshirt sophomore Kat Young (Chantilly, Va.) and freshman Alex Spencer (Canton, Ohio) added nine kills. Spencer, Young and sophomore Chino Anukwuem (East Hanover, N.J.) each had two blocks. Sophomore Kelsey Miller (Crestwood, Ky.) had 16 digs.
Virginia came out strong, scoring the first four points of the match capped off by a solo block by Young. Virginia Tech closed the gap to one, 6-5, but UVA stretched its lead out to 8-5 on a kill by Anukwuem then an error for the Hokies. With the score back within one, 9-8, UVA went on a 4-0 run to lead 13-8. The Cavaliers were leading 20-16 when VT used a 5-0 run to take a 21-20 lead. UVA tied it right back as the teams began trading points. Virginia eventually took the advantage on a kill by junior Harley Sebastian (Atlanta, Ga.) and closed out the first set 27-25.
Virginia Tech had the early spark in the second set with a 4-0 run. The Hokies used several more runs to extend their lead and went on to take the set 25-10 and tie the match at 1-1. The teams were battling early in the third set, but a 3-0 run gave VT a 9-5 edge. UVA stayed close but couldn’t gain momentum as Virginia Tech won the third set, 25-18.
UVA was out first in the fourth set after two kills by Novakovic to start. An ace by Miller, back-to-back kills for Young and a kill by Novakovic gave Virginia a 6-2 lead. The Cavaliers extended their lead to 9-3 on a 3-0 run with kills by Spencer and Novakovic. UVA was up 10-5, but Virginia Tech came back with a 6-0 run to take its first lead of the set 11-10. The teams saw two more ties before the Hokies took a 14-12 lead. Kills by Novakovic and Young eventually tied the set once again at 16-16. VT responded with two-straight points to stay in front. The Cavaliers cut it to two several times, but the Hokies held on for the 25-21 win.
Tonight’s game was sponsored by Virginia529, the official college savings plan of University of Virginia Athletics. With Virginia Tech’s victory, the Hokies have earned a half-point in the Virginia529 Commonwealth Clash. The score for the Clash is now University of Virginia – 1.0 and Virginia Tech – .5. Learn more about Virginia529 and this competition at TheCommmonwealthClash.com.
Virginia will be back on the road on Friday, Sept. 29 at Pittsburgh. The match will be streamed live on ACC Network Extra.