September 27, 2009
Late comebacks propel Hokies to wild victory over Miami
Tech wins in Coral Gables for first time in school history
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Virginia Tech (11-3) 27252229153
Miami (8-5) 29212527112
  • James Knight Complex - 304

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The Virginia Tech volleyball squad earned a big 3-2 (27-29, 25-21, 22-25, 29-27, 15-11) victory over the Miami Hurricanes on Sunday at the James L. Knight Complex in Coral Gables, Fla., for its first ACC victory of the season.

With history stacked against them, the Hokies (11-3, 1-2 ACC) recorded their first conference victory of the season, winning at Miami (8-5, 1-2 ACC) for the first time in program history. Tech did so in wild fashion, as the match featured 30 ties and 14 lead changes. No team won a set by more than four points.

Set one began the showdown, as Miami won the early race to 10 points, taking a 10-5 lead. Tech came back, cutting the deficit to one and eventually pulling ahead to 19-14 with an 8-0 run. The Hurricanes then rallied in the see-saw stanza, using an 8-3 run to even the period at 22 apiece. Both teams went back and forth for the rest of the frame, until Miami capitalized on a ball-handling error by sophomore Erin Leaer and an attack error by senior Taylor Parrish to capture the first set, 29-27.

The Hokies regrouped in the second set. The two teams could not gain more than a one-point lead in the early stages of the frame, until a 3-0 run helped Miami to a 12-9 lead. Tech responded with a 5-0 streak of its own to take the lead, 14-12, and eventually pushed out to a 17-13 advantage. The Hokies never relinquished the lead, maintaining the four-point cushion for a 25-21 set victory.

The Hurricanes came out of the locker room for the third set energized, jumping out to a 10-3 lead to start the period. The Hokies battled back, cutting the margin to two four times in the period, but could get no closer in the stanza. A kill from the Hurricanes’ Lane Carico, the reigning ACC Freshman of the Year, sealed the third frame for Miami, 25-22.

In the pivotal fourth set, the Hokies stayed calm under pressure. Another 9-3 run gave Miami an early edge, but Tech again fought back. After battling back for the duration of the frame, the Hokies finally tied the set at 19-all. Miami seized two, two-point leads at 22-20 and 23-21, but could not close out the Hokies. After tying the frame for the ninth time at 27-27, freshman Jennifer Wiker and sophomore Justine Record registered back-to-back kills to win the fourth set, 29-27, and force a fifth stanza.

The two squads continued the back-and-forth affair in the final set, until Tech gained some separation at 10-8. Miami could not muster one final rally as the Hokies carried the margin to victory, taking the fifth set, 15-11, and the match, 3-2.

Leaser tallied a career-high 60 assists in the match, the first time a Hokie setter has reached the 60-assist mark since 2007, and helped the Hokies to a .247 team hitting percentage. Record led Tech with 19 kills, while junior Felicia Willoughby and Wiker, who hit a team-high .484 in the match, added 17 kills each. Freshman Cara Baarendse recorded 11 kills, while striking at a .381 clip.

Senior Jill Gergen totaled 22 digs, while freshman Kirsten Higareda and Record registered 16 and 13 digs, respectively. Record notched her second double-double of the season and the seventh of her career.

The Hokies defeated Miami despite committing 19 service errors and being out-blocked 15.5 to 10. A .153 team hitting percentage doomed the Hurricanes in the contest.

Tech finishes its opening road trip in ACC action with bouts against Wake Forest in Winston-Salem and Duke in Durham next Friday and Saturday, respectively. Results will be available on hokiesports.com.

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

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