CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia (5-11, 1-5 ACC) held a 43-41 advantage in kills, but Syracuse (9-5, 5-1 ACC) produced a pair of late rallies in the first two sets to earn a 26-24, 25-23, 25-21 sweep on Sunday (Oct. 7) at Memorial Gymnasium.
Grace Turner (Cincinnati, Ohio) floored 13 kills to lead the Cavaliers. The freshman recorded back-to-back double-digit kill matches for the first time in her Virginia career. She also added eight digs in the loss.
Syracuse was led by Polina Shemanova, the ACC leader in kills per set during conference matches, with 13 terminations on the day. The Orange also capitalized on 27 Virginia miscues, 11 of which came via Syracuse’s vaunted block, to seal the victory.
SET 1: Syracuse 26, Virginia 24
The two sides traded points early, with Virginia winning the race to 10 with a two-point advantage off a Turner kill. Syracuse rallied back to take a 12-11 lead off a Cavalier error, but Virginia responded with a 5-0 run highlighted by a service ace from Chino Anukwuem (East Hanover, N.J.).
Slowly, but surely, the Orange chipped away at the Virginia lead to tie the set at 22-22 on a block from Amber Witherspoon and Mariia Levanova. With the set tied at 24-24, Syracuse setter Jalissa Trotter won a joust at the net, setting the table for Shemanova to finish the set.
SET 2: Syracuse 25, Virginia 23
Virginia opened the second set on fire, flooring seven of its first 10 swings to build a 10-3 advantage. Turner, Sarah Billiard (Matthews, N.C.) and Milla Ciprian (St. John’s, Fla.) each had a pair of kills in the fast start.
Syracuse responded immediately with a 10-3 run of its own, using a pair of blocks and four more Virginia errors to draw even. The Cavaliers regrouped, going on a 4-0 run to build a 17-13 advantage, but the Orange would rally late once again. Syracuse leveled the set at 18-all and went on to earn the 25-23 victory.
SET 3: Syracuse 25, Virginia 21
For the first time on the day, Syracuse controlled the early action to build an 8-5 lead. Virginia answered with a 3-0 run to tie the set, capped by back-to-back blocks. Anukwuem was in on both rejections, joined first by Jelena Novakovic (Belgrade, Serbia) and then by Alex Spencer (North Canton, Ohio).
Moments later, a 4-0 Virginia run gave the Cavaliers a brief, 13-12 lead. Syracuse would score seven of the next 10 points, however, to wrest control and see out a 25-21 win.
• The Cavaliers held a 43-41 advantage in kills but committed 27 errors to Syracuse’s 13. The 27 Virginia errors were a season high in three-set matches.
• Spencer notched 11 digs to hit double-digits for a third-straight match.
• Libero Kelsey Miller (Crestwood, Ky.) recorded a season-best five assists. She added 13 digs defensively.
• Billiard notched 11 kills to finish in double-figures for the 14th time this season.
Virginia travels to North Carolina State on Friday (Oct. 12) for a televised matchup on ESPNU. The Cavaliers will also face North Carolina on the road trip next weekend.