CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia volleyball team (8-4, 0-1 ACC) came up short in the fifth set against NC State (7-5, 1-0 ACC) in its 2022 ACC opener at Memorial Gymnasium Friday night as the Wolfpack defeated UVA, 24-26, 25-17, 25-23, 18-25, 15-8. NC State emerged victorious after tallying 15.0 blocks, while the Cavaliers totaled just 9.5.
For the third time this season, Virginia outside hitter Grace Turner tallied 20 kills and had a pair of service aces. Defensively, Turner added eight digs. In her first start as a Cavalier, setter Gabby Easton notched a double-double with 27 assists and 10 digs.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Virginia got off to a rough start after trailing 9-1 early on and by as many as nine (15-6) midway through the first. The Wolfpack were just two points away from a set No. 1 win, leading 23-16, but then the Cavaliers came storming back by winning 10 of the next 11 points to complete the comeback and win the first, 26-24. Virginia defensive specialist Kate Johnson came off the bench to serve for a span of six straight UVA points, including an ace of her own, to help spark the Cavalier run. Turner posted seven of her 20 kills in the opening frame, while hitting .333. UVA libero Madison Morey tallied five of her 19 total digs in the first.
- The Wolfpack evened the match after a 25-17 set No. 2 win. The NC State defense tallied five blocks and help hold the Cavaliers’ hitters to just nine kills along with eight attack errors in the set. Meanwhile, Virginia had no blocks in game No. 2.
- Moving into a 5-1 rotation with Easton as the focal point in set No. 3, the Cavaliers scored five straight to flip the score and give themselves a 17-15 lead. NC State responded with a run of its own – this one 4-0 – to grasp a 20-19 lead later on. Virginia led 23-22, but the Wolfpack shut out the Hoos the rest of the way to win it, 25-23, and took a 2-1 lead heading into the fourth. Turner accounted for six of UVA’s 17 kills in game No. 3, while Easton tallied 10 assists and two kills.
- The Cavaliers leaped out to a 7-2 lead to start set No. 4. NC State cut its deficit to two (10-2), but that was as close as it would get the rest of the way. Virginia went on to claim the fourth, 25-18, and force a decisive fifth with the help of right side hitter Mary Shaffer, who put down all three balls set her way. Turner and Morey added aces from behind the service line. The Cavalier defense held NC State to a .000 hitting percentage after the Wolfpack posted eight kills and eight errors in game No. 4.
- Both teams were tied 5-5 to open the fifth before the Wolfpack went on a 4-0 run. Another three unanswered scores by NC State later on doubled the score with the Wolfpack ahead, 12-6. NC State closed out the fifth by winning, 15-8.
- Friday’s contest was the sixth five-set match for the Cavaliers this season. UVA is now 4-2 in such contests.
- Grace Turner’s 20-kill performance marked the third match this season that the graduate student recorded at least 20 kills in a single match.
- Setter Gabby Easton made her first career start as a Cavalier and posted a double-double with match-high 27 assists and 10 digs. She also tallied five kills.
- Libero Madison Morey recorded a match-high 19 digs.
- NC State extended its win streak in the series to nine straight matches.
Virginia returns to Mem Gym on Sunday (Sept. 25) when it hosts North Carolina (8-4, 0-1 ACC). First serve is scheduled for 1 p.m. on ACCNX. In addition to being a designated Sabre Rewards match, the first 300 fans in attendance for Sunday’s contest will receive a free Virginia Volleyball t-shirt.