October 3, 2009
Hokies push ACC leader Duke, but fall in four sets
O'Neill earns first career double-double
Virginia Tech (11-5) 252018231
Duke (15-2) 212525253
  • Cameron Indoor - 398

DURHAM, N.C. – The Virginia Tech volleyball squad pushed the leader of the ACC, the Duke Blue Devils, to four sets on Saturday night, but fell, 3-1, at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C.

Tech (11-5, 1-4 ACC) battled all night long, continually winning long rallies, but only hit .199 in the match, while the Blue Devils (15-2, 5-0 ACC) struck at a .241 clip. Duke also recorded nine blocks to the Hokies’ 7.5.

Tech wasted no time gaining control of the first set, racing out to a 10-4 lead. The Blue Devils cut the margin to three, three times, but could not get any closer. Tech hit .360 in the opening period en route to a 25-21 victory. The Hokies’ victory in the first set marked the first time Tech has taken the opening frame against Duke since 1986.

A 7-0 run, fueled by three powerful kills from sophomore Justine Record, opened up a 9-5 lead in the second set for the Hokies. After Tech extended the advantage to 13-7, Duke rallied back to take the lead at 16-14 on a 9-1 run of their own, which included four service aces in a row from the Blue Devils’ Rachael Moss at one point. The Hokies could never recover, as Duke captured set two, 25-20.

In set three, the Blue Devils jumped out to a 10-4 advantage to nab the early edge. Tech mounted a comeback to pull within five at 20-15, but Duke squashed the push with a kill from Megan Hendrickson. The Blue Devils eventually won the set, 25-18.

Both squads went back and forth in set four, racking up 10 ties and five lead changes. Since the score was tied at 6-6, neither team secured more than a two-point advantage for the duration of the stanza. Tied at 23-23, Record’s serve sailed just past the end line for a service error, and the Blue Devils’ Christiana Gray stuffed senior Betsy Horowitz’s attack to finish the Hokies in the set, 25-23, and the match, 3-1.

Four Hokies landed double-digit kills in the match. Record led the way with 15, Horowitz registered 11 and senior Felicia Willoughby and freshman Morgan O’Neill totaled 10 each. O’Neill recorded her first career double-double as she added 12 digs in the contest as well. Sophomore Erin Leaser dished out 44 assists, while senior Jill Gergen earned 16 digs.

After having to play their first five matches of ACC play on the road, the Hokies finally return home with matches against NC State and North Carolina on Thursday and Friday, 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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