WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – A shorthanded Virginia (11-17, 3-12 ACC) dropped a four-set battle to Wake Forest (12-14, 2-13 ACC) by a 25-23, 25-27, 25-20, 25-22 final on Friday night (Nov. 15).
Jelena Novakovic (Belgrade, Serbia) led Virginia with 12 kills. Milla Ciprian (St. John’s, Fla.) and Sarah Billiard (Matthews, N.C.) each finished with 11 kills to give Virginia three players in double figures.
Wake Forest had five finish with 10 or more terminations, led by Peyton Suess, Carolina Kuhn and Caitlyn Della with 13 each. Michell Polechonski and Olivia Saunders each added 11 to the Demon Deacons’ effort.
The Cavaliers were without outside hitter Jayna Francis (Virginia Beach, Va.) who had produced 10 or more kills in three straight matches.
SET 1: Wake Forest 25-23
Both teams hit .250 in a back-and-forth opening set. Wake Forest jumped to a 4-1 lead to start the set and held the advantage until Virginia drew level at 13-13. A 3-0 run, sparked by a Mattison Matthews (Charleston, S.C.) kill and Kristen Leland (Dallas, Texas) ace put the Cavaliers in front 16-14.
With the set tied at 23-23, Wake Forest used a block to reach set point. A net violation would end the set as the Demon Deacons claimed a 1-0 lead.
SET 2: Virginia 27-25
Wake Forest used a 4-0 run to build a 14-9 advantage in the second frame. The Demon Deacons opened the set hitting .533 with nine kills and just one error in their first 15 swings. Novakovic produced a block and back-to-back kills to put Virginia on a 3-0 run. Wake Forest, however, answered with three consecutive points of its own to rebuild the five-point edge.
Virginia would make another charge, drawing even at 20-all, but Wake Forest used three-straight points to regain control. The Cavaliers would rally, stealing the set with three blocks, including back-to-back solo rejections from Novakovic and Ciprian, to earn a 27-25 win.
SET 3: Wake Forest 25-20
Once again Wake Forest jumped to the early advantage as a 5-0 run made it 12-7 Demon Deacons. Virginia was never able to overcome the lead, only closing within two at 20-18. The Demon Deacons closed the set with a 3-0 run to seal a 25-20 victory after hitting .379 in the frame.
SET 4: Wake Forest 25-23
Wake Forest opened the fourth with a 5-2 advantage behind a pair of kills from Suess. Virginia answered with a 5-0 run, highlighted by a Leland ace, to take a 7-5 lead. The Demon Deacons would retake the lead at 12-11 and build a 19-16 edge late in the set.
A 3-0 Virginia run leveled the frame at 19-19 before both teams traded points down the stretch. Tied at 23-all, Wake Forest used back-to-back blocks to take the frame and the match.
• Virginia racked up 15 blocks in the loss.
• Ciprian and Matthews each had seven blocks.
• Alex Spencer (North Canton, Ohio) led the match with 19 digs.
• Jennifer Wineholt (San Diego, Calif.) finished with a double-double, recording 23 assists and 10 digs.
Virginia continues its road trip with a noon first serve on Sunday (Nov. 17) at Clemson.