October 1, 2010
Tigers outlast Tech in gritty battle
Baarendse posted a career-high 25 kills, the most for a Hokie this season
Clemson (11-4) 25182521153
Virginia Tech (10-4) 20252025112
  • Cassell Coliseum - 1,211

BLACKSBURG, Va. – After close to a month on the road, the Virginia Tech volleyball squad returned home this evening to host the Tigers of Clemson University. In an intense, back-and-forth battle, the Tigers came out on top, downing the Hokies, 3-2 (25-20, 18-25, 25-20, 21-25, 15-11). It is just the second time that the Tigers have defeated the Hokies in Blacksburg, though their 11th win overall. The win snaps the Tigers’ two-match skid, lifting them to 11-4 (2-2 ACC), while the Hokies slip to 10-4 (1-3 ACC).

The Tigers came into Cassell Coliseum ready to play and quickly jumped out in front 10-3 in the first set. The Hokies outscored the Tigers 7-4 in the next 11 plays to make it 14-10, but Clemson pushed back, 17-11. The Hokies countered with another strong run, closing the gap to four, 23-19, but despite a combined 11 kills from Felicia Willoughby and Cara Baarendse, the Hokies fell in the first frame, 25-20.

Tech came back hungry in set two, opening the frame with a 7-3 advantage. However, after a Tiger timeout, Clemson won five points in a row to take an 8-7 lead. The set remained close over the next several plays, until the Hokies went on a 3-0 run to go ahead 16-12, and they never lost the lead through the end of the set. Six kills from Baarendse and seven from Samantha Gostling were enough to put the Hokies on top in the second frame, winning 25-18 and tying the match at one.

Clemson opened well in the third frame, soon gaining a 14-6 lead. The Hokies then won six straight points, narrowing the gap to two, but the Tigers pushed right back up, 17-12. Tech continued to fight, but eventually dropped the set, 25-20.

Unwilling to back down, the Hokies pulled it together in the fourth set, and jumped out to an early 8-4 lead. The Tigers came back to tie it at 11, and after trading points for several plays, the Tigers took a two-point lead, up 18-16. However, after a Tech timeout, the Hokies came back refreshed, winning five straight points and taking a 21-18 lead. An attack error by Baarendse made it 21-19, but she quickly bounced back with a kill on the next play. An attack error by Sandra Adeleye made it 23-19, but Serenat Yaz found the floor for a Tiger kill, 23-20. Justine Record made it set-point with an unassisted kill, but Yaz kept the Tigers alive with a kill from Lucy Hayes. Record then put the icing on the cake with her sixth kill of the set, giving the Hokies a 25-21 victory and forcing a fifth, tiebreaking set.

The Tigers started strong in the tiebreaker, going up 4-1, but the Hokies responded with four straight to take a 5-4 lead. Tech battled up to 9-7, but then the Tigers turned the tide, going up 10-9. After Record tied the set at 11, the Tigers won the final four points to win the match 3-2 with a 15-11 victory in set five.

Sophomore Cara Baarendse eclipsed her career high, registering 25 kills in the match, the most for a Hokie since Justine Record notched 26 on Oct. 17, 2009, also against Clemson. Felicia Willoughby tied her season high with 17 kills and team-high .419 hitting percentage, and freshman Samantha Gostling notched a career-high 15. Justine Record also registered 11 kills and added two assists and three service aces.

Erin Leaser tied her season high with 57 assists, and notched her sixth double-double of the year, adding 12 digs. Additionally, her second assist of the match pushed her ahead of Michelle Lang ’09 on the career assists list, as she now sits in fifth place all-time with 2,992. Freshman Laura Misiewicz made her first appearance at libero after Amy Wengrenovich exited the match with a wrist injury early in the first set, and earned an impressive 21 digs, adding an assist and her first career service ace.

As a team, the Hokies recorded a season-high 71 kills, the most since Oct. 23, 2009 at Boston College, while the Tigers earned just 53. The Hokies also had more digs (73-69) and assists (63-48), but the Tigers out-blocked the Hokies, 12-3.

The Hokies return to action tomorrow evening when they host the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech in an ACC match at Cassell Coliseum beginning at 6 p.m. LiveStats will be available at www.hokiesports.com/volleyball/live, and audio and video broadcasts will both be streamed live on Hokies All-Access.

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

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