October 17, 2008
Blue leads Hokies to 3-1 win over Wake Forest
Freshman records team-highs in kills and blocks
Wake Forest (13-7) 232521191
Virginia Tech (16-3) 251525253
  • Cassell Coliseum - 2,472

BLACKSBURG, Va. – In front of a season-high crowd of 2,472 fans, four Hokies racked up double-digit kills to pace the Virginia Tech volleyball squad to a 3-1 (25-23, 15-25, 25-21, 25-19) victory over Wake Forest Friday night in Cassell Coliseum.

“It was an incredible atmosphere and a great match,” Tech head coach Chris Riley said. “These are two tough teams that are pretty evenly-matched, but we came out on top because of this great crowd.”

The Hokies (16-3, 7-1 ACC) were led by freshman Kirsty Blue, playing for injured middle blocker Betsy Horowitz, who tallied 14 kills on a .355 hitting percentage. Fellow freshman Justine Record registered 11 kills, while senior Kristen Cunningham and sophomore Felicia Willoughby both earned 10 kills apiece. The victory keeps Virginia Tech in first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

“How about Kirsty Blue coming up humongous for us tonight,” Riley said. “She has been great in practice, she has been great all year and she can step in for Betsy. Kirsty is a great player, she was a little nervous in the first set, but she stepped it up and was fantastic for us tonight.”

The two squads battled early in set one, with Tech able to maintain a small lead until an attack error by Felicia Willoughby allowed Wake Forest (13-7, 4-4) to grab the advantage 14-15. The Deamon Deacons held the lead until a block by Willoughby and freshman Erin Leaser evened the frame at 18 all. The Hokies would extend the lead to 24-20, but Wake reeled off three straight points to pull within one. A blocking error by Wake’s Ashley Homitz sealed the set for Tech though, 25-23.

Tech came out flat in the second stanza, quickly falling behind 5-8. The Demon Deacons would never relinquish the advantage, and finished out the set with its largest lead of the match, 25-15. The Hokies did not block any attacks in the period, while Wake mustered four swats and hit .346 in the frame.

Coming out of the locker room, the Hokies regrouped for set three. The stanza see-sawed much of the way, until Tech gained some breathing room at 18-14. The Demon Deacons won four of the next five points to stay with the Hokies, but Tech answered with a 6-3 run of its own, including two big kills by Blue, to claim the third set 25-21.

Wake Forest started strong in the fourth frame, putting the Hokies in a 7-1 hole early. With the score 9-3, Tech mounted a comeback on a 10-2 run that energized the crowd. Using the momentum and the raucous atmosphere, the Hokies never looked back and won the set 25-19, and the match 3-1.

Both squads struck at a .136 clip on the night. Wake out-blocked Tech on the match 13-6, but the Hokies earned five denials, to the Demon Deacons’ four in the crucial fourth set. Leaser dished out 48 assists to help the Hokies’ offense, and junior Jill Gergen and Record dug 19 and 14 attacks respectively. Record earned her fourth double-double of the season. Along with leading the Hokies in kills, Blue recorded a team-high four blocks as well, all coming in the final frame.

Tech will next take the court against Duke on Saturday night at 6 p.m. in Cassell Coliseum. Results will be posted on hokiesports.com following the match.

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

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