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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia volleyball team downed James Madison, 22-25, 25-23, 26-24, 25-18, in the Cavaliers’ sole exhibition of the season. Virginia also captured a fifth set by the score of 15-12 in the tune up match.
Alex Spencer (North Canton, Ohio) came alive after a slow first set to lead Virginia with 18 kills. Nine of those 18 came in the second set alone as Spencer powered the Cavaliers to a 25-23 set victory to level the match at the break. Spencer also added eight digs in the match, second-most for the Cavaliers.
Along with Spencer, Jelena Novakovic (Belgrade, Serbia) finished the match in double figures with 13 kills. Chino Anukwuem (East Hanover, N.J.) and Kat Young (Chantilly, Va.) both recorded eighth kills to balance the Virginia attack in the middle.
JMU captured the opening set despite being outhit by the Cavaliers. Four service aces helped the Dukes jump to a 1-0 lead in the match. Virginia responded behind Spencer in the second set who floored nine of the Cavaliers’ 16 kills in the set. Freshman Grace Turner (Cincinnati, Ohio) produced a pivotal kill with the set tied 23-23 before Anukwuem ended the set for the Hoos.
After the break, the Cavaliers took the lead with a 26-24 victory in the third. The Dukes rallied back from a 16-12 deficit in the set, reaching set point with a 24-23 edge. Virginia, however, reeled off three consecutive points to earn a 2-1 advantage in the match. Once again it was Turner who found the crucial kill, breaking the 24-24 deadlock.
The Cavaliers dominated the fourth set to pick up the 3-1 victory. Virginia stifled JMU to just .100 hitting in the set behind four blocks. Young recorded a solo stuff and a pair of block assists to lead the Cavalier defense. Virginia scored the final four points of the set, two of which came on blocks, to pull away for the win.
In the fifth, Virginia hit .316 as a team to capture four of the five sets played in the exhibition.
• Megan Wilson (Brookeville, Md.) dished out a match-high 38 assists.
• Libero Kelsey Miller (Crestwood, Ky.) dug up 18 JMU attacks to lead the Cavaliers.
• Virginia’s 11 blocks would have been the third most as a team in 2017.
• Transfer Christine Jarman (Boynton Beach, Fla.) knocked down seven kills to give Virginia six players with seven or more kills.
Virginia opens the regular season on Friday, August 24, at the Iowa State Challenge. The Cavaliers will face Ole Miss and Oregon State on Friday before taking on the host Cyclones on Saturday (Aug. 25).