Oct. 20, 2017
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia volleyball team (4-16, 0-9 ACC) fell 3-1 (24-26, 25-21, 28-26, 25-12) to Duke (12-8, 4-5 ACC) on Friday night in front of a capacity crowd at Memorial Gymnasium.
The Cavaliers scored five-straight points after trailing 24-22 in the first set to take the early lead in the match. Duke came back to tie the match with a 25-21 win in the second set, which saw 11 ties and five lead changes. The Cavaliers were leading in the third, but the Blue Devils just edged them with a 28-26 win in the third. Duke took the match with a 25-12 win in the fourth set.
“We had some really high levels of play tonight and I feel like we let that one slip through our hands,” head coach Aaron Smith said. “We were up 17-12 in the third set with the match tied 1-1 and we couldn’t finish out that set. There were a lot of hitting errors on our part, some of that is on our hitters and some is on our second contact. We need to get our hitters in better situations to get better swings.”
Sophomore Jelena Novakovic (Belgrade, Serbia) led the Cavaliers with 15 kills and freshman Alex Spencer (Canton, Ohio) added 12 kills. Junior Harley Sebastian (Atlanta, Ga.) and sophomore Kiley Banker (West Lafayette, Ind.) each added eight kills.
Sophomore Chino Anukwuem (East Hanover, N.J.), redshirt sophomore Kat Young (Chantilly, Va.) and Spencer each finished with four blocks. Sophomore Jane Horner (Mission Viejo, Calif.) lead UVA with 16 digs, while sophomore Jennifer Wineholt (San Diego, Calif.) dished out 25 assists.
Virginia opened the match with a block by Novakovic and Anukwuem. The Cavaliers extended their lead to 5-2 on a kill by Novakovic. Duke used a 4-0 run to take the lead, 6-5, but UVA countered with a kill by Sebastian and an ace for Novakovic to regain the lead. The Blue Devils scored six of the next seven points to go ahead 12-8. UVA was down 20-15 when a 4-0 run forced a Duke timeout as the Cavaliers cut it to 20-19. Duke extended its lead to 24-21 but Virginia scored two-straight as the Blue Devils called timeout. UVA tied the set 24-24 and a kill by Sebastian followed by a block for Novakovic and Young closed out the 26-24 win.
The Cavaliers scored the first two points of the second set but Duke quickly tied it up at 2-2. The teams traded points and the lead several times. Neither team led by more than two points until a 3-0 run put the Blue Devils up 17-13. UVA scored three-straight to cut it to one. Duke would extend its lead to 22-17 before another 3-0 run pulled Virginia within two. Duke held on to take the set 25-21 and tie the match.
Duke was on top early to begin the third but a 7-1 run gave Virginia an 11-7 lead. Duke tied the set at 11-11 on a 4-0 run. UVA went back ahead with a 5-0 run, including kills by freshman Megan Wilson (Brookeville, Md.) and Spencer, to lead 16-11. The Cavaliers were up 20-17 when Duke scored four of the next five points to tie the set 21-21 and later took a 24-22 lead. Virginia held off two set points with kills by Spencer and Novakovic as Duke called timeout. The Cavaliers had the advantage, 25-24, on an ace by Wineholt, but Duke closed out the set with four of the last five points to win 28-26.
UVA fell behind early in the fourth set and was unable to gain momentum. The Cavaliers were down 23-9 and used a 3-0 run to cut it to 23-12, but Duke clinched the match with a 25-12 win.
Virginia had a team hitting percentage of .088, while Duke finished with .263. The Blue Devils had the advantage in blocks (13.0-8.0), digs (67-66) and aces (4-3).
“We felt like we were in the match and to not come away with the win in front of a great atmosphere at home and with some of our alumni in attendance is disappointing,” Smith said. “We have another match on Sunday. We will be in the gym tomorrow making sure we are ready for that.”
The Cavaliers will return to Memorial Gymnasium on Sunday when they host Wake Forest at 1 p.m.