August 30, 2008
Tech sweeps Hokie Invite for third straight year
Horowitz, Gergen and Leaser named to all-tournament team
Coastal Carolina (2-1) 232326161
Virginia Tech (3-0) 252524253
  • Cassell Coliseum - 280
BLACKSBURG, Va. - For the third consecutive year the Virginia Tech volleyball squad swept their own season-opening tournament, closing out the Hawthorn Suites Hokie Invitational with a 3-1 (25-23, 25-23, 24-26, 25-16) victory over Coastal Carolina for the tournament championship Saturday night.

The Hokies (3-0, 0-0 ACC) battled a tenacious Chanticleer team (2-1, 0-0 Big South) the entire night, with the first three sets being back-and-forth affairs, until the knockout punch was delivered by Tech in the fourth stanza. Junior Betsy Horowitz led the Hokies with 13 kills and a .591 hitting percentage, while junior Taylor Parrish and sophomore Felicia Willoughby added 12 and 10 kills respectively.

The Horowitz-Parrish-Willoughby trio got off to a hot start in the first set, with the three combining for 11 of the 16 kills in the frame. Both teams could not distance themselves from each other the entire set, but the Hokies put together three straight points at the end to come back and win the set 25-23.

The second set followed the same pattern as the first, as the Chanticleers took the late lead in the frame 22-21, but two service aces from junior Jill Gergen and the strong blocking presence of Horowitz, helped the Hokies to the 25-23 win in set two.

As in Friday night's match against Maryland-Eastern Shore, the Hokies dropped the third set in the match after taking the first two. Tech found itself behind most of the way, but continued to battle back, eventually tying the stanza at 23 apiece. Coastal Carolina maintained their composure though, and captured the set behind a Jill Nyhof block to avoid the sweep.

In the fourth frame, Tech established its dominance, sprinting out to a 5-0 lead behind strong serving from Gergen. The Hokies would push the lead to 17-8, and take the set 25-16 for the match victory.

Gergen led the team in digs with 21, while Parrish added 12 for her first double-double of the year. Erin Leaser recorded her first double-double of her career, with a team-high 32 assists and 12 digs.

Horowitz, Gergen and Leaser were named to the Hawthorn Suites Hokie Invitational All-Tournament team after the match. Horowtiz registered 24 kills and 12 blocks on the weekend, while hitting at a .463 clip. Gergen racked up 31 kills on the tournament, and Leaser, seeing her first collegiate action, tallied 70 assists for Tech.

The victory over the Chanticleers, who finished runner-up in the tournament, ensured Tech its third straight sweep of the Hokie Invitational. The Hokies took a 3-1 decision against Maryland-Eastern Shore on Aug. 29, and swept Winston-Salem State earlier Saturday in their previous two tournament matches. Maryland-Eastern Shore finished third, defeating Winston-Salem State 3-0 in the third-place match.

Tech next will hit the road for the first time in the 2008 campaign, traveling to Huntington, W.Va. for the Marshall Tournament on Sept. 5 and 6. The Hokies will kick off the tournament with a match against the host, Marshall, at 7 p.m. on Sept. 5.

For updates on Virginia Tech volleyball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_VBall).

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