Against the Bearcats, Willoughby led the Hokies' attack, hitting a career-high .667 on 11 kills in 15 attempts, with one error. Sophomores Betsy Horowitz and Taylor Parrish each contributed six kills.
Senior Amanda Cloyd collected 12 of the teams 26 digs, Tech's lowest defensive output this season, while Parrish led the charge at the net with a career-high six blocks. Willoughby and sophomore Rachel Fahlenkamp both blocked five Bearcat attacks.
Offensively, the Hokies were also at a season low, only producing 36 kills and 34 assists. Sophomore Michelle Lang dished out 30 of those assists.
In a close first game, one in which neither team held more than a three-point advantage; the Hokies used a timeout with the Bearcats up 27-25 to regain momentum. Out of the timeout, Willoughby landed a kill and Wengrenovich an ace to knot the score at 27 and force a timeout upon Cincinnati. Jenny Cluster came up big for the Bearcats out of the timeout though, knocking down a kill and a block to put Cincinnati back up two and in a game-point opportunity.
Parrish was credited for the next kill, and as the Hokies attempted to force extra points in the opening frame, Jessica Elley's Bearcat kill ended hope for Tech, putting Cincinnati on top, 30-28.
The Bearcats came out on fire in game two, jumping to a quick 20-7 lead, forcing a Hokie timeout. Tech cut the Bearcats lead to 10 with three straight points out of the break, but that's as close as the Hokies would get, as Cincinnati cruised to a 30-19 game two win.
Despite being down 16-9 in game three, the Hokies stepped up their defensive play at the net, blocking seven Bearcat attacks in 14 points, cutting their deficit to one at 20-19. Cincinnati won the next point with a kill and Fahlenkamp landed one of her own before the Bearcats committed an attack error, evening the score at 21 all.
The Hokies pulled ahead two at 24-22, off a Cincinnati service error and a Wengrenovich and Willoughby block. Back-to-back Bearcat kills knotted the score again at 24, but a service error put the Hokies back up one.
The two squads continued to trade serves, but it was the Bearcats who reached game-point first. Tech called a timeout at 29-28, but a Cincinnati block put the match out of reach for the Hokies at 30-28.
The tournament wrapped up Tech's non-conference schedule. The Hokies (6-4) will open Atlantic Coast Conference play Fri., Sept. 14 at 7 p.m., against instate rival Virginia, in Charlottesville, Va. The match will be broadcast through ACCSelect. Visit www.vt.accselect.com for more information.