CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia (8-5) earned a pair of victories over Elon (5-8) and UNCG (6-8) on Saturday (Sept. 21) to finish a perfect 3-0 in the Jefferson Cup. The Cavaliers withstood Elon 25-23, 24-26, 25-19, 22-25, 15-4, before sweeping UNCG 25-13, 25-18, 25-21, in the nightcap.
Sarah Billiard (Matthews, N.C.) racked up 28 kills between the two matches en route to earning Jefferson Cup MVP honors. She also set a career high with her .588 hitting percentage against UNCG.
Billiard floored 18 kills to lead Virginia to a five-set victory over Elon to open Saturday action. Jelena Novakovic (Belgrade, Serbia) added 14 for the Cavaliers.
Elon was paced by a match-high 19 kills from Leah Daniel. Kellyn Trowse added 18 to the Phoenix effort.
Set 1: Virginia 25-23
The opening frame was filled with back-and-forth action as neither team led by more than two points through 16-16. A 3-0 Virginia run gave the Cavaliers a 19-16 lead after Billiard floored her fifth kill of the opening set.
An errant set and Elon kill allowed the Phoenix to get back within 24-23, but Billiard hammered home her team-leading sixth kill of the set to seal a 25-23 win for Virginia.
Set 2: Elon 26-24
Elon capitalized on five early miscues from Virginia to build a 9-1 lead in the second. After the Cavaliers closed within 12-9, the Phoenix used a pair of blocks to rebuild a 15-9 lead.
With Novakovic at the service line, Virginia reeled off four-straight points to pull within two and force an Elon timeout. The Cavaliers would tie the set at 16-16 and eventually earned set point at 24-23. Elon, however, used a pair of Virginia errors to take a 26-24 frame.
Set 3: Virginia 25-19
Novakovic served Virginia on a 5-0 run to give the Cavaliers a 9-3 start to the third set. Virginia never looked back in retaking the lead, as Jayna Francis (Virginia Beach, Va.) and Milla Ciprian (St. John’s, Fla.) each floored three kills in the set.
Christine Jarman (Boynton Beach, Fla.) jumped for four blocks in the frame. Freshman Mattison Matthews (Charleston, S.C.) added a trio of rejections and Ciprian had a pair as the Cavalier block came to life.
Set 4: Elon 25-22
After both teams had bursts early in the set, a 3-0 run from Virginia turned an 11-9 deficit into a 12-11 lead. With Virginia leading 17-16, Elon used a block from Jenn Krzeminski and Trowse to spark a run.
Elon would get three blocks in the late going, including the set winner from Daniel and Natalie Cummins.
Set 5: Virginia 15-4
The Cavaliers left no room for doubt in the decisive fifth set, launching a 10-1 assault to open the set. Ciprian got the set rolling with a kill and ace before two kills from Novakovic and a block from Matthews and Novakovic staked Virginia to a 5-0 lead.
After Elon got on the board, another 5-0 run by the Cavaliers was keyed by a pair of kills from Billiard. From the 10-1 lead, Virginia easily saw out the set to earn the victory.
• Four Cavaliers picked up 10 digs in the match.
• Libero Kelsey Miller (Crestwood, Ky.) led the match with 16 digs.
• Setter Megan Wilson (Brookville, Md.) notched a double-double with 23 assists and 11 digs.
• Maddie Boylston (Mount Pleasant, S.C.) dished out a career-high 25 assists.
Billiard once again led Virginia with 10 kills as the Cavaliers swept UNCG to close the weekend. The right side did not commit an error, hitting a career-best .588. Novakovic added nine kills while Francis, Matthews and Jarman had six each.
UNCG was led by Maria Esch, who knocked down eight kills.
Set 1: Virginia 25-13
Matthews was stellar in the middle with four kills and a pair of blocks to get Virginia off to a hot start. Her first kill of the night capped a 5-1 run to open the match. The Cavaliers later used a 5-0 run to take an 18-9 lead and salt the set away. Ciprian highlighted the stretch with a pair of terminations.
Defensively, Virginia smothered the Spartans, who hit negative-.062 in the set.
Set 2: Virginia 25-18
The second set belonged to Billiard who pounded home five of her 10 kills on just eight swings in the frame. Billiard was the only Cavalier with multiple kills in the set while Matthews leapt on all three of Virginia’s blocks in the frame.
After Lauren Robeck notched a pair of aces to serve UNCG on a 4-0 run to snag the lead, Virginia answered with an 8-0 run to pull away late. Billiard had a pair of kills in the stretch while Matthews put back three blocks. Jarman and Billiard also chipped in block assists alongside Matthews.
Set 3: Virginia 25-21
Virginia was determined to finish in three, hitting a match-best .405 in the set. Novakovic floored five kills while Billiard and Jarman each added four. With the set tied 12-12, Virginia stormed to an 8-1 run to effectively ice the match. Jarman produced three kills during the decisive run.
• Miller racked up 17 digs to lead all players in the match.
• With its eighth win of the season, Virginia matched its 2018 win total.
• The Cavaliers held their fifth opponent below .100 this season.
Sarah Billiard (MVP) – Virginia
Mattison Matthews – Virginia
Megan Wilson – Virginia
Lauren Bright – Lehigh
Sarah Carmen – Lehigh
Leah Daniel – Elon
Maria Esch – UNCG
Virginia hosts No. 6 Pitt on Wednesday (Sept. 25) to open ACC play. The game will be televised on the ACC Network.