September 26, 2010
Historic comeback falls just short in 3-2 loss at No. 13 Seminoles
Three Hokies registered 16 or more kills in the match
Virginia Tech (10-3) 23132525132
(13) Florida State (11-2) 25251919153
  • Tully Gym - 676

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Virginia Tech volleyball team came within two points of its most impressive comeback in history, dropping a nail-biter to the No. 13 Florida State Seminoles, 3-2 (25-23, 25-13, 19-25, 19-25, 15-13). The loss drops the Hokies to 10-3 (1-2 ACC), while the Seminoles improve to 11-2 (3-0 ACC).

After trailing 2-0, the Hokies, who have never defeated the Seminoles away from Cassell Coliseum, came within striking distance of their first ever victory over a ranked opponent, but after tying the match at two, Tech dropped the final set 15-13. It was just the second time in history that the Hokies took a ranked opponent to a fifth set, as they dropped a tough one at No. 23 Notre Dame on Nov. 7, 2003, also by a score of 15-13 in the tiebreaker.

The Hokies took a small lead early in the first set, but the Seminoles then went on a 6-1 run to take a 10-7 lead. The Hokies followed with a strong run of their own to come within one, 15-14, but the Seminoles then won seven of the next eight points to go out in front 22-15. The Hokies, not ready to accept defeat, won four straight points to pull within three, and continued to outscore the Seminoles 8-2, making it 24-23. However, a clutch kill by Visnja Djurdjevic handed Florida State a win in the first frame, 25-23.

The Seminoles rode their momentum into the second set, quickly jumping out in front 10-4, and taking the frame by a score of 25-13. However, the Hokies were nowhere near ready to throw in the towel. After the Seminoles opened the third set up 5-2, the Hokies won six straight points and took their first lead since the beginning of the first set, going up 8-5. Tech held on to its advantage, pulling ahead by as many as seven points, up 19-12, and got themselves on the board with a 25-19 victory in the third set.

The Hokies meant business in frame four, opening the game 4-0 and never allowing the Seminoles to get within one, tying the match at two with another 25-19 victory.

Having erased their early two-set deficit, the Hokies came into the tiebreaker ready for action, as Felicia Willoughby opened the final set with a kill followed by a service ace from Justine Record. However, the Seminoles were not ready to lose to an unranked opponent for the first time this season, as they won seven points in a row to go up 7-2. Not unlike the first set, Tech continued to battle, but could not overcome the early deficit, and soon the score sat at 14-10. Tech then won the next three points, thanks to two Seminole errors and an ace from Amy Wengrenovich, but as Tech pulled within one point a tie, a service error by Wengrenovich ended the epic struggle, as the Seminoles squeaked by the Hokies, 15-13, and took the match, 3-2.

The Hokies had three double-digit kill performers and five double-digit diggers, and Erin Leaser registered her fifth double-double of the season, with 55 assists and 13 of the Hokies’ 67 digs. Jennifer Wiker and Felicia Willoughby each had 16 of the Hokies’ season-high 67 kills, and Cara Baarendse led the match with 19 and a .500 hitting percentage. Justine Record notched a career-high six service aces and tied her season best with 13 digs. Amy Wengrenovich led the team with 15 digs, and Kirsten Higareda and Morgan O’Neill rounded out the strong defensive line with 11 and 10 digs, respectively. Victoria Hamsher had another strong day up front, assisting four of the Hokies’ six blocks, and Jennifer Wiker added three more.

Willoughby had the team’s only block solo of the day, elevating her career total to 87, which ties Katie Esbrook ’06 for fifth all-time on the Hokies. Additionally, she moved into the top 10 in career kills, with 1,087, surpassing Ana Lang ’02. Erin Leaser’s 55 assists put her at 2,935 all-time, which is just one assist shy of fifth place. Justine Record and Amy Wengrenovich each reached personal milestones, as Record registered her 100th career service ace and Wengrenovich notched her 800th dig.

After playing four of their first five weekends on the road, the Hokies finally return home on Friday, Oct. 1, to host the Clemson University Tigers in their ACC home opener at 7 p.m. Livestats and All-Access broadcasts will be available on for both of the weekend’s matches.

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

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