September 19, 2008
Hokies sweep UNC Wilmington in Seahawk Classic
Tech registers nine service aces in the match
Virginia Tech (8-2) 2525253
UNC Wilmington (5-6) 1510210
  • Hanover Hall - 454

WILMINGTON, N.C.- Virginia Tech opened the Seahawk Classic with a sweep over host UNC Wilmington 3-0, (25-15, 25-10, 25-21) in Hanover Hall on Friday night in Wilmington, N.C. to jump out to the program’s best start since 1995.

The Hokies (8-2, 0-0 ACC) used strong serving and some key play from several freshmen in the final set to secure the victory. Tech registered nine service aces to the Seahawks’ (6-5, 0-0 CAA) two in the win. Freshman Justine Record tallied 10 kills, while Felicia Willoughby and Taylor Parrish both added eight apiece.

“I thought we played pretty solid, and I thought our serving was real good,” Tech head coach Chris Riley said. “We talk about how we want our serving and our serve receive to be cornerstones for what we do. I thought we were real solid in both.”

Tech dominated the first set, quickly pushing out to a 6-1 advantage. Wilmington tried to rally, but the Hokies proved too strong, extending the lead to 17-10, and eventually capturing the frame 25-15.

The blistering start continued for Tech into the second stanza. With the score 10-8, the Hokies would win 15 of the next 17 points to take the set 25-10. Tech hit at a .346 clip, blocked three shots and recorded four service aces in the frame.

With momentum on the Hokies’ side, Riley started four freshmen in the third set, Kirsty Blue, Alison Blasingame, Kirsten Higareda and Record to allow them to gain some valuable game experience. The Seahawks leapt to a 9-3 lead, but the young Hokies began to regroup. Tech battled back to tie the frame at 13, but would fall behind again, losing the next four points.

The Hokies once again rallied, and tied the set at 18 on Higareda’s service ace. Tied at 19, the Hokies took 5 straight points on junior Michelle Lang’s service, and won the match point on a block assist by Blasingame and Blue.

“You have to love the way Michelle served the ball at the end,” Riley said. “If she misses a serve it is set point, but she goes back and serves five rockets that were un-passable. If we can serve and take a team out of their system, at any point we are still in it.

Freshman Erin Leaser led the Hokies with 21 assists, and Lang also recorded double-digit assists with 10 of her own. Willoughby blocked four shots, and sophomore Amy Wengrenovich totaled 10 digs to lead Tech. The Hokies hit .224 as a team, but held the Seahawks to a .090 hitting percentage.

With the win, Virginia Tech is off to its best start as a program in 13 years. The 1995 Hokie squad won nine of its first 11 matches en route to a 22-12 finish on the year. Tech has an opportunity to equal that team’s mark with a win in tomorrow’s match against UNC Asheville.

Opening serve against the Bulldogs is scheduled for 11:45 a.m. on Saturday. Hokies play-by-play announcer Jerry Massey will provide a free audio broadcast of the contest from Hanover Hall. Results will be posted on after the match.

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

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