Nov. 4, 2017
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia volleyball team (7-18, 3-11 ACC) picked up its second win of the weekend with a 3-1 (25-21, 15-25, 25-22, 25-18) victory over Georgia Tech (12-13, 7-7 ACC) on Saturday night in Memorial Gymnasium.
Virginia took the opening set 25-21, but Georgia Tech came back to tie the match 1-1 with a 25-15 win in the second. After the break, Virginia battled to a 25-22 win in the third set that saw 16 ties and seven lead changes. Sophomore Jelena Novakovic (Belgrade, Serbia) had seven kills and freshman Sarah Billiard (Matthews, N.C.) had five to lead UVA to a 25-18 win in the fourth set to take the match.
“I’m happy for the team to be able to experience a sweep this weekend,” head coach Aaron Smith said. “Georgia Tech really dominated the second set and I commended the girls for coming back in the third and fourth sets and showing mental toughness after getting blown out in the second. I was happy with how the team played tonight. Jelena (Novakovic) and Sarah (Billiard) really stepped up and carried us offensively in the fourth set to.”
Three players had double-figure kills for UVA, led by Novakovic with a career-high 18 kills. Freshman Alex Spencer (North Canton, Ohio) and Billiard each added 13 kills. Freshman Megan Wilson (Brookeville, Md.) dished out 40 assists. Gabriela Stavnetchei led Georgia Tech with 16 kills.
The Cavaliers had another solid offensive outing with 58 kills on a .292 hitting percentage, while Georgia Tech finished with 60 kills on a .314 hitting percentage. UVA had a 6-5 edge in blocks and led 5-2 in service aces.
The first set was a battle that saw 10 ties and three lead changes. Georgia Tech had the early lead but Virginia took a 5-4 advantage on a 3-0 run. UVA then used a 5-1 run to lead 10-6 as Georgia Tech called timeout. The Yellow Jackets countered with a 5-0 run to lead 11-10. The teams then traded points with five ties before kills by Spencer and Anukwuem gave UVA a 17-15 lead. The Yellow Jackets came back to tie it up two more times as Virginia called timeout with the score 19-19. Out of the break, UVA had a 4-0 run capped off by a kill for Novakovic to lead 23-19. Kills by Wilson and Spencer gave UVA the 25-21 win.
Virginia scored the first two points of the second set, but Georgia Tech scored five-straight to take a 5-2 lead. The Cavaliers cut it to 7-5 on a kill by Anukwuem. The Yellow Jackets then had an 8-1 run to extend their lead to 15-6. UVA scored four-straight to cut it to 15-10 with kills by Novakovic and Billiard. Georgia Tech had another 4-0 run to lead 19-10 and remained in control to win the second set 25-15 and tie the match.
The Cavaliers used a 6-0 run early in the third set to take a 6-2 lead with two aces from sophomore Jane Horner (Mission Viejo, Calif.). Georgia Tech tied the set at 6-6 with a 4-0 run. From there the teams had 10 tie scores. Georgia Tech had the advantage after two-straight points to lead 18-16, but Virginia would take a 21-19 lead on a 5-1 run. It was tied two more times before the Cavaliers closed the set with a solo block by Anukwuem, then Anukwuem and Novakovic combined for a block. Spencer secured the set with a kill as UVA won 25-22. Virginia hit .500 in the third set.
After going down 3-0, Virginia took a 5-4 lead on an ace by Horner, who finished with three aces total. The Cavaliers began to pull away with a 4-0 run to lead 9-5. A 5-2 swing put Virginia in the lead 14-8 as the Yellow Jackets called timeout. Virginia was leading 18-11 when Georgia Tech scored three-straight, but the Cavaliers didn’t falter with three of the next four points to lead 21-15. Virginia secured the win with the final three points, including kills by Billiard and Novakovic. Novakovic had seven kills in the final set and Billiard had five.
Virginia will be on the road next weekend at Louisville on Friday, Nov. 10 and Notre Dame on Sunday, Nov. 12. Both matches will be streamed live on ACC Network Extra.