Oct. 8, 2017
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia volleyball team (4-13, 0-6 ACC) fell 3-1 (25-21, 25-22, 22-25, 25-17) in a tight match to Louisville (11-5, 5-1 ACC) on Sunday afternoon in Memorial Gymnasium.
The first three sets were decided by four points or less. Virginia surged ahead in the third set to extend the match. The Cavaliers hit .317 in the set, while holding Louisville to a .214 hitting percentage in the third. Louisville used a .455 hitting percentage to secure the fourth set.
“The team put themselves in position to win those first two sets,” head coach Aaron Smith said. “I think it was 20 unforced errors on our part that we gave them. We just bad some bad mistakes, primarily behind the service line, that killed our momentum. Anytime we had rhythm or extended a rally we went back behind the service line and made an error. We addressed it and it improved in the latter two sets, but volleyball is a game of momentum. We hurt ourselves in those first two sets and could not recover.”
Junior Harley Sebastian (Atlanta, Ga.) led Virginia with a career-high 15 kills. Sophomore Jelena Novakovic (Belgrade, Serbia) finished with nine kills and sophomore Kiley Banker (West Lafayette, Ind.) added eight.
Freshman Alex Spencer (Canton, Ohio) finished with 18 digs to lead the Cavaliers. Novakovic added 15 and had three service aces.
After going down 6-1 early in the first set, Virginia rattled off a 6-1 run of its own to tie the set 7-7 on back-to-back service aces for Novakovic. Louisville responded with three-straight points to lead 10-7. The Cavaliers came back to cut the lead to one, 13-12, after a kill by reshirt sophomore Kat Young (Chantilly, Va.). The Cardinals went on another run to stretch their lead to 17-13. UVA cut it to one twice before a 3-0 run later in the set eventually tied it up at 20. However, Louisville used a 5-1 to close out the set with a 25-21 win.
Virginia came out strong in the second set, scoring the six of the first seven points with three of those on kills by Novakovic. The Cavaliers remained in control as they took an 11-5 lead on a kill by Banker. With UVA up 13-7, Louisville stormed by with a 7-0 run to lead 14-13. The teams began trading points until a 4-1 run put Virginia up 18-16 after an ace by sophomore Jane Horner (Mission Viejo, Calif.). Louisville tied it once again, as there were three more tie scores until a 3-0 run gave the Cardinals a 22-20 edge. Louisville held on to take the set 25-22.
The third set was a battle early with neither team leading by more than two points. Louisville was leading 10-8, before a 5-0 run gave the Cavaliers a 13-10 lead. UVA didn’t trail the remainder of the set, later using a 3-0 run that included two kills by Sebastian, to lead 23-19. Virginia closed out the set with a 25-22 win to send the match to a fourth set. Sebastian finished with seven kills in the third set.
The Cavaliers took the early advantage in the fourth, scoring the first two points by Spencer with a kill and a solo block. Louisville countered with a 5-1 run to lead 5-3. Virginia came back to tie the set 7-7, but Louisville would record nine of the next 10 points to lead 16-8. The Cavaliers closed the gap on a 3-0 run to make it 20-14, but couldn’t overcome the deficit as Louisville clinched the match with a 25-17 win.
Virginia was out-hit by Louisville, .270-.192. The Cavaliers trailed in blocks (10.0-6.0) and digs (66-60). Both teams finished with four aces.
UVA will be on the road next weekend at NC State on Friday, Oct. 13 and North Carolina on Saturday, Oct. 14.