CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – In a dramatic finish, Virginia (6-1) came up victorious in five sets (25-22, 25-21, 21-25, 23-25, 16-14) over Charlotte (5-4) in the Cavaliers’ home opener at Memorial Gymnasium Friday evening (Sept. 9). The win marked Virginia’s third five-set victory in its last four matches.
Grace Turner posted her seventh career double-double with a career-high 23 kills and 15 digs, while hitting .422 in the win. Mary Shaffer (17 kills) and Abby Tadder (11 kills, 5 aces) also contributed offensively for UVA.
Charlotte’s Emani Foster, who was second in the nation in kills per set entering Friday’s contest, recorded a match-high 24 kills on 59 swings, hit .305, and tallied 16 digs.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Virginia trailed 5-4 early in set No. 1 before scoring four unanswered to give the Cavaliers an 8-5 advantage, a lead they maintained for the remainder of the frame. Virginia scored 69 percent of the time when in receive, which contributed to three service aces for the Hoos. For the set, UVA tallied 15 kills, including four by Mattison Matthews who took five swings. Turner tallied five digs in the opening game.
- Turner kicked it in gear offensively in the second, ripping eight kills on 10 swings in addition to six digs. After the 49ers scored the first point of the set, Virginia quickly secured its first lead, which once again it did not relinquish for the remainder of the set. Charlotte trailed by as a little as two (20-18) late in game No. 2, but Shaffer and Tadder teamed up for a block on the right side, which ultimately led to the Cavaliers’ second-set victory, 25-21. Once again Virginia tallied 15 kills in the set and hit .333, while holding the 49ers to a .100 hitting percentage in the second.
- A 10-3 scoring run by the 49ers in the middle of the set along with eight kills by Foster and four UVA service errors proved to be the difference in set No. 3, which Charlotte won, 25-21. After trailing by as many as five (21-16) late in the third, UVA cut its deficit to 23-21, but back-to-back 49er points put Charlotte on the board after winning the third, 25-21.
- In the fourth, it was five UVA service errors that spoiled the Cavaliers’ hopes of a four-set win. Although Shaffer, who tallied five kills in the fourth, started to heat up offensively, the 49ers scored the final three points to steal set No. 4, 25-23, and even the match 2-2 to force a decisive fifth.
- The Cavaliers scored six straight points in the middle of game No. 5 to grasp an 11-6 lead. Charlotte clawed its way back to ultimately tie the set, 14-14, and force extra plays. In a fitting end, the Cavaliers erased all hope of a Charlotte comeback after Shaffer and Turner posted back-to-back kills, respectively, to deliver yet another UVA victory in five sets.
- With the win, Virginia improved to 6-1, marking its best start to a season since 2014, when the Cavaliers also won six of their first seven matches.
- With the win, the Cavaliers improved to 3-0 in the all-time series, which began in 1984.
- Virginia tallied 70 kills against the 49ers, the most by UVA in a single match since Oct. 5, 2018, when it also registered 70 kills against Boston College
- Grace Turner (23 kills, 15 digs) posted her seventh career double-double.
- Turner’s 23 kills are a career high and the most by a Cavalier in a single match since Oct. 5, 2018, when Sarah Billiard posted 24 kills against Boston College. Turner’s previous career best was 21 kills.
- Abby Tadder finished with five service aces, her career high, and the most by a Cavalier in a single match since Turner did so at NC State on Sept. 24, 2021.
- Friday’s five-setter was 2:46 in length.
Virginia returns to Mem Gym on Saturday (Sept. 10) for a rematch with the 49ers at 3 p.m. Saturday’s contest is set to stream on ACCNX.