September 12, 2009
Tech wins American Tournament
Leaser earns tournament MVP honors
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Virginia Tech (9-0) 212525273
American (2-7) 251314251
  • Bender Arena - 500

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Virginia Tech volleyball squad earned its third regular season tournament title of the season on Saturday night, winning the American Tournament crown by knocking off American, 3-1 (21-25, 25-13, 25-14, 27-25), in Bender Arena.

The Hokies (9-0, 0-0 ACC) continued its best start in school history, capturing its ninth win and third regular season tournament victory in a row. Tech swept the Hilton Garden Hokie Invitational and the VT Tournament earlier this season. Sophomore Erin Leaser earned MVP honors for the American Tournament, while freshman Cara Baarendse and sophomore Justine Record also registered all-tournament team honors.

The Eagles (2-7, 0-0 Patriot) gave Tech a battle early on though, capturing the opening frame of the match. After staying close early in the set, Tech embarked on a 7-2 run to extend out to a 16-11 lead, but allowed American pull ahead at 20-18, as the Eagles responded with a 9-2 run of its own. The Hokies could never regain momentum in the stanza and dropped the first set, 25-21.

Tech came out with a vengeance in the second set, doubling American up at 16-8, with an early 8-2 run. The Hokies pushed the margin further the rest of the frame, taking the second set 25-13. Tech hit .444 in the period and held American to an .080 hitting percentage.

A 6-1 run, gave Tech to start the third set gave Tech the momentum. American would never threaten in the frame, as the Hokies pushed out to a 20-7 advantage and won the stanza 25-14. The Hokies bettered their hitting percentage from the second period, striking at a .455 clip and limiting the Eagles to a -.029 hitting percentage.

American righted the ship in the fourth stanza though, holding control for much of the period, and held serve to force a fifth set. Up 24-21, a service error by the Eagles’ Claire Recht returned the service to the Hokies, and Tech took advantage. The Hokies reeled off two straight points on junior Amy Wengrenovich’s serve to pull even at 24-24. After American won the next point, the Hokies put together another 3-0 run, to win the set 27-25, and the match, 3-0.

Junior Felicia Willoughby, senior Taylor Parrish and Baarendse all led the Hokies with nine kills each. Baarendse also tallied a career-high 10 blocks in the match, the most by a Hokie this season. Leaser dished out 38 assists in the contest, while senior Jill Gergen recorded 13 digs. Tech hit .282, while American struck at a .167 clip in the affair. The Hokies also blocked 13 attacks to the Eagles’ five.

Tech opens ACC play next weekend at the Marriot Cavalier Invitational, taking on Virginia at 7 p.m., on Friday. The Hokies will wrap up non-conference season with bouts against Albany and Villanova on Saturday. Results will be available on hokiesports.com.

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

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