November 8, 2008
Tech cannot overcome Tar Heels' strong defense
Junior Jill Gergen dug 21 attacks on the night
123F
North Carolina (17-9) 2525253
Virginia Tech (18-8) 1922200
  • Cassell Coliseum - 609

BLACKSBURG, Va.- The Virginia Tech volleyball squad gave a strong effort, but fell to North Carolina on Saturday night 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-20) at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Va.

The Hokies (18-8, 9-6 ACC) battled in all three sets, but were ultimately outdone by North Carolina’s tenacious defense. The Tar Heels (17-9, 11-4) out-blocked Tech 10 to six, and held the Hokies to a .096 hitting percentage, while striking at a .246 clip themselves.

Tech found itself down early in the set one, with the Tar Heels reaching double-digits first at 10-7. North Carolina maintained the lead, but the Hokies continued to stay within striking distance much of the period. With the score 21-19, the Tar Heels reeled off four straight points to capture the frame 25-19.

The second stanza saw 14 ties and eight lead changes, as the two squads remained even much of the way. The Tar Heels won three straight points with the score tied at 21 apiece to gain some breathing room. A big kill by senior Sarah Munoz kept the Hokies in the stanza, but North Carolina’s Heather Brooks downed a kill on the next point to win the set for the Tar Heels 25-22.

In set three the Hokies regrouped. After the two teams followed the match’s pattern early with several ties, Tech pulled ahead 14-11. The Hokies sustained the edge until the Tar Heels rallied to tie the period 16 all. Tech did not quit, winning the next two points, but could not fend off North Carolina. The Tar Heels won nine of the next 11 points to seal the set 25-20, and the match 3-0.

“I thought we played real scrappy, we played with a lot of emotion and a lot of energy,” Tech head coach Chris Riley said. “North Carolina was just a better defensive team. That is the best defensive team from any team that has come in [to Cassell Coliseum]. Balls that are normally down against most teams we play, were up and covered and settable.

Sophomore Felicia Willoughby led the Hokies with 10 kills on a .391 hitting percentage. Junior Jill Gergen tallied 21 digs and freshman Erin Leaser dished out 30 assists. Freshman Kirsty Blue earned four blocks in the match.

The Hokies will play host to their final two home matches of the season next weekend. Tech faces Boston College on Nov. 14 at 3 p.m., and Maryland Nov. 15 at 6 p.m. Results will be posted on hokiesports.com following the matches.

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

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