September 4, 2009
Strong defense lifts Hokies against East Carolina
Willoughby racks up nine blocks in effort
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East Carolina (1-3) 1713220
Virginia Tech (4-0) 2525253
  • Cassell Coliseum - 633

BLACKSBURG, Va. – The Virginia Tech volleyball squad coasted to a 3-0 (25-17, 25-13, 25-22) victory over East Carolina in the opening match of the Virginia Tech Tournament on Friday night in Cassell Coliseum.

The Hokies (4-0, 0-0 ACC) hit .265 in the match, and limited the Pirates (1-3, 0-0 Conference USA) to a .049 hitting percentage, marking the third straight opponent Tech has held under a .200 clip. Four Hokies with six or more attacks hit over .300 in the contest. Seniors Betsy Horowitz and Taylor Parrish hit .364 and .417, respectively, while junior Felicia Willoughby struck .571 and sophomore Erin Leaser tallied a .333 hitting percentage.

The first set began slowly for the Hokies, as they fell behind early, 5-2. Tech quickly made up the difference and then some with an 8-2 run. The Hokies would not relinquish the lead for the rest of the set, sprinting to a 25-17 win in the opening frame.

For the second consecutive set, Tech jumped out to a 10-7 lead in the second stanza. Another 8-2 run built an insurmountable lead for the Hokies, as Tech cruised in set two, 25-13. The Hokies hit .360 in the frame, while East Carolina mustered a .049 hitting percentage.

East Carolina put up a fight early in the third period battling to a 9-9 tie with the Hokies. Tech pressed out to a 16-10 advantage with a 7-1 run, but the Pirates would not go away easily, pulling within two at 22-20 and again at 24-22. Willoughby’s team-high eighth kill of the match dashed the Pirates’ chances and captured the set, 25-22, and the match, 3-0, for the Hokies.

Along with her eight kills, Willoughby’s nine blocks, four of the solo variety, led the way for Tech, which finished with 14 team stuffs. Horowiz, Parrish and Baarendse all tallied six blocks, while Horowitz, Leaser and freshman Jennifer Wiker added four blocks each. Leaser dished out 29 assists and recorded nine digs. Junior Amy Wengrenovich also tallied nine digs in the effort.

Tech head coach Chris Riley upped his Division I head coaching career win total to 199 with the victory. He moves to 13-0 against non-conference competition in Cassell Coliseum since joining the Hokies in 2006.

The Hokies will continue VT Tournament action tomorrow, taking on Norfolk State at noon and Arkansas at 6 p.m. Arkansas dropped Norfolk State earlier in the day, 3-0, and will take on East Carolina at 10 a.m. The Pirates then match up with Norfolk State at 4 p.m. Results will be available on hokiesports.com

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

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