CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia volleyball team (8-2) won its second match of the day in Memorial Gymnasium Friday night after defeating Mercer (4-7), 25-21, 12-25, 25-17, 21-25, 15-12, in the first-ever meeting between the two teams. With the win, the Cavaliers improved to 8-2 overall, which ties for the program’s best start through its first 10 matches since 2004.
Grace Turner posted a match-high 17 kills on 41 swings and recorded eight digs.
UVA defeated East Carolina, 3-1, earlier in the day in its first of three matches this weekend (Sept. 16-17).
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Virginia trailed 8-3 to open set No. 1 and 14-10 later on. After a slow start, the Cavaliers grasped their first lead of the game, 17-16, on a high-bouncing kill by Abby Tadder (7 kills, 3 blocks). The set saw its fifth tied score at 21-21, but the Cavaliers took advantage of three Mercer errors and another kill by Tadder to win the final four points and claim the set, 25-21. Tadder put down four of the five balls sent her way and Turner posted four kills on eight swings. Libero Madison Morey registered seven of her 19 total digs in the opening set.
- The Bears dominated the second set, winning 25-12, after UVA never led throughout the frame. The Cavaliers hit -.097 after recording nine kills overshadowed by 12 attack errors. The Bears totaled 12 kills with no attack errors to hit .444 and registered six total blocks en route to evening the score, 1-1.
- A flurry of UVA scoring runs gave the Hoos an 18-9 lead toward the end of the third. The Bears made things interesting after scoring five straight to cut the UVA lead to 18-14, but ultimately the Cavaliers pulled away, 25-17. All 24 Virginia serves landed in bounds, including one ace, and once again Morey registered seven digs in the frame. GG Carvacho (7 kills, 2 blocks) also gave the Cavaliers a boost, coming off the bench and putting down a team-best four kills in game No. 3.
- After UVA led for the majority of the fourth, Mercer scored three straight points to secure a 21-20 advantage, also its first lead of the set. A kill by Carvacho tied the game, 21-21, but the Bears scored four straight to win the fourth, 25-21, and force the Cavaliers into their fifth five-set contest of the season. Mercer hit .226 in game No. 4 and had three service aces, while UVA hit just .138 and only recorded one ace.
- After a sloppy end to the fourth, the Cavaliers regained momentum early in the fifth by leaping out to a 10-4 lead thanks to a combined three aces from UVA setters Gabby Easton (24 assists) and Ashley Le (18 assists). To make matters worse for the Bears, Mercer served three balls into the net in the final frame. UVA clung to a 13-9 lead before the Bears put down a kill and blocked Turner on back-to-back points to cut the Virginia lead to 13-12. However, the Cavaliers scored the next two points to close out the set, 15-12, and match, 3-2.
- With the win, Virginia tied for its best start to a season through its first 10 matches since 2004.
- With the win, the Cavaliers won the first-ever meeting UVA and Mercer.
- With the win, UVA improved to 4-1 in five-set matches and 3-1 in Mem Gym this season.
- For the fifth consecutive match, Grace Turner posted double-digit kills, finishing Friday’s nightcap with a match-high 17 kills.
Virginia continues tournament play on Saturday (Sept. 17) when it hosts Maryland (8-2) at 3 p.m. in Mem Gym. Saturday’s tournament finale is slated to stream on ACCNX. East Carolina (4-7) and Mercer (4-7) are set to square off at noon on Saturday.