Oct. 22, 2017
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia volleyball team (4-17, 0-10 ACC) was edged in five sets, 3-2 (16-25, 28-26, 25-22, 15-25, 15-7) by Wake Forest (11-11, 3-7 ACC) on Sunday afternoon in Memorial Gymnasium.
Virginia came out strong to open the match with a 25-16 win the first set. The Cavaliers came back in the second set to take a 25-24 advantage over Wake Forest, but the Demon Deacons were able to take the advantage and win 28-26 to tie the match at 1-1. The third set was close the whole way as neither team led by more than three points, but Wake came out on top 25-22. Virginia surged ahead with a 5-0 run early in the third set and kept its momentum to take a 25-15 win and send the match to a tie-breaking fifth set. Wake Forest took the early lead and remained in control to win 15-7.
“The story of the whole season has been inconsistent play for us,” head coach Aaron Smith said. “When we were good, we were good and when we struggled we let things compound on that. We didn’t show the mental toughness we needed to, particularly in the fifth set. That is something we need to work on and its part of the growing process with a young team. It was good to have Sarah (Billiard) back on the court. We are going to continue to figure out how to score points in different ways and be aggressive.”
Freshman Alex Spencer (Canton, Ohio) led Virginia with 18 kills and finished with a double-double with 11 digs. Sophomore Jelena Novakovic (Belgrade, Serbia) added 10 kills and freshman Sarah Billiard (Matthews, N.C.) had nine. Kylie Long led Wake Forest with 26 kills.
Virginia led WF with 8.0 blocks to 7.0. Redshirt sophomore Kat Young (Chantilly, Va.) had a solid day at the net, contributing to a career-high seven blocks for the Cavaliers.
Freshman setter Megan Wilson (Brookeville, Md.) also had a double-double, with 27 assists and 12 digs. Sophomore Jane Horner (Mission Viejo, Calif.) had a team-high 18 digs and sophomore Jennifer Wineholt (San Diego, Calif.) had three service aces.
The first set started out close, with the teams trading points until the score reached 4-4. A block by Novakovic and Young started a quick 4-0 run, giving Virginia an 8-4 lead and forcing a Wake Forest timeout. The Demon Deacons came out of the timeout and scored a quick point before the Cavaliers responded with a 6-1 run to go up 14-6. The Cavaliers maintained their lead, winning five of the next eleven points, before using a 5-1 run to bring up set point at 24-13. After four set points, the set concluded on a Demon Deacons attack error. The Cavaliers won the first set 25-16, led by Novakovic with four kills and Kat Young with three blocks.
After the Demon Deacons opened the second set with two points, neither team led by more than a point until Wake took a lead of 12-10. The Cavaliers came back, winning three straight points to take their first lead of the set. UVA took the lead on a block by Billiard and Young, their third block together of the match. Wake Forest used an 8-4 run to pull ahead 20-17, but Virginia scored two quick points to force a Wake Forest timeout. The Demon Deacons pulled to set point using a 4-2 run before the Cavaliers went on a 4-0 run to force a set point of their own, up 25-24. Wake Forest responded, winning four of the next five points to take the set 28-26.
Virginia fell behind early in the second set, getting down 10-7. The Cavaliers responded and a 4-1 run to tie the set at 11-11. A 3-0 Wake Forest run gave the lead back to the Demon Deacons. The deficit held steady until a 4-1 run pulled the Cavaliers back within one point at 18-19. Wake Forest proceeded to close out the set, winning 25-22 and taking a 2-1 lead in the match.
The Cavaliers jumped out to a lead early in the fourth set. A five-point run, highlighted by a pair of Wineholt aces, gave the Cavaliers an 8-4 lead. Virginia stretched its lead to 15-8 with a 6-1 run that included three kills by Spencer. UVA remained in control to score four of the last five points, capping off the 25-15 win with an ace by Wilson.
Wake Forest was on top first in the tie-breaking fifth set and went ahead 9-4. The Cavaliers could not halt the run as the Demon Deacons took the win 15-7.
Both teams were close throughout the match, with Wake Forest having the edge in hitting percentage, .190-.181. UVA had the advantage in kills (59-55), aces (6-2), and blocks (8.0-7.0). Wake Forest had 77 digs to 72 for the Cavaliers.
Virginia is on the road this week at Boston College on Thursday, Oct. 26 and at Syracuse on Sunday, Oct. 29.