CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia (3-5) rolled to a 25-10, 25-21, 25-13, sweep of Youngstown State (5-3) in the morning match before stumbling in five sets against UNCW (6-3) on Friday (Sept. 7) inside Memorial Gymnasium.
Sarah Billiard (Matthews, N.C.) led Virginia with 30 kills between the two matches. Kelsey Miller (Crestwood, Ky.) finished both matches with double-digit digs to anchor the Cavalier defense.
MATCH 1: Virginia 3, Youngstown State 0
For a seventh-consecutive match to open the 2018 season, Billiard led the Cavaliers in kills, racking up 13 while hitting .440 to lead Virginia to a sweep of Youngstown State (5-3).
Virginia hit .367 on the match, setting a season-best mark for the second-straight contest. The Cavaliers also held the Penguins to just .040 hitting, the lowest mark by an opponent since August 25, 2012.
SET 1: Virginia 25, Youngstown State 10
Virginia stormed to a 9-2 lead out of the gates and never looked back, rolling to a 25-10 set to open the Jefferson Cup. The Cavaliers hit a blistering .406 while holding Youngstown State to a negative-.037 hitting percentage in the set.
Kat Young (Chantilly, Va.), Billiard and freshman Milla Ciprian (St. John’s, Fla.) led the Cavaliers with three kills in the set. For Ciprian, the kills were the first of her collegiate career.
SET 2: Virginia 25, Youngstown State 21
Miller served the Cavaliers on a 4-0 run to open the set. Chino Anukwuem (East Hanover, N.J.) highlighted the run with a pair of kills to build the early lead. Youngstown State pulled back into the set with back-to-back points, closing the deficit to 11-10.
A Miller ace and another pair of kills from Anukwuem sparked a 6-2 run to put Virginia up 17-12, but two Cavalier errors allowed the Penguins to close within 22-20 late in the set. The Cavaliers scored three of the next four points for the 25-21 victory.
SET 3: Virginia 25, Youngstown State 13
Jennifer Wineholt (San Diego, Calif.) served up six straight points for the Cavaliers, who built an 8-2 advantage to start the set. Virginia never let Youngstown State back into the set, as Billiard knocked down eight of her 13 kills in the final frame.
Meanwhile, the Virginia defense once again stifled the Penguins to a negative hitting percentage. The Cavaliers racked up five blocks in the set and forced another five errors as Youngstown State finished at negative-.094 in the set.
• Anukwuem hit .727 with eight kills in the victory.
• Billiard’s .440 hitting percentage is a season best for the outside.
• Billiard also added a season-best four blocks.
• Freshman Grace Turner (Cincinnati, Ohio) hit a career-best .429 with seven kills and no errors.
MATCH 2: UNCW 3, Virginia 2
Virginia built a 2-1 lead in the match but stumbled down the stretch as UNCW (5-3) rallied back for an 18-25, 25-9, 16-25, 25-14, 15-9, victory in the nightcap.
Billiard led the Cavaliers for an eighth-consecutive match, knocking down 17 kills in the loss. Turner added 13 kills to the Virginia effort.
SET 1: Virginia 25, UNCW 18
Novakovic was electric at the service line, firing off five aces in the set. The junior reeled off three-straight aces to build a 9-6 lead for the Cavaliers. She added back-to-back aces to finish off the frame for the Cavaliers.
Along with the six aces in the set, the Cavaliers racked up three blocks and held UNCW to .071 hitting.
SET 2: UNCW 25, Virginia 9
UNCW rolled 25-9 to even the match behind an errorless set. The Seahawks hit .522 while holding the Cavaliers to negative-.030 in the frame. Halle Hunt led UNCW with five kills in the set.
SET 3: Virginia 25, UNCW 16
The Cavaliers rebounded behind seven kills from Turner. The rookie hit .357 in the third set to lead Virginia to a .333 attack percentage as a team. Billiard added four kills and hit .571 in the set while adding an ace. Virginia racked up another four aces in the set.
SET 4: UNCW 25, Virginia 14
Virginia committed seven errors and UNCW hit .370 to cruise in the fourth set. A 7-0 Seahawk run turned a 12-10 deficit into a 19-10 hole for the Cavaliers. Kendall Bender led the set with five kills for the Seahawks.
SET 5: UNCW 15, Virginia 9
A slow start proved too much to overcome for the Cavaliers, as UNCW raced out to a 7-1 lead. The Seahawks benefited from four Virginia errors and an ace in the opening run. In total, the Cavaliers committed six errors and the Seahawks added another two aces in the set. Four Cavalier service errors also helped UNCW to the clinching set.
• Virginia’s 10 service aces were the most since the Cavaliers produced 10 at Florida State on September 22, 2017.
• Novakovic’s six aces were a career high and tied for eighth all-time in Virginia history. She’s the first Cavalier to rack up six aces since Tori Janowski hit the mark in 2014.
Virginia closes out the Jefferson Cup on Saturday (Sept. 8) at 7 p.m. against George Mason. Admission is free and the first 200 fans will receive a beanie in celebration of the newly installed air conditioning in Memorial Gymnasium.