October 2, 2011
Late rally propels Hokies past Maryland, 3-2
Five players set career highs in victory
Virginia Tech (9-7) 22252525153
Maryland (9-8) 25272216102
  • Comcast Pavilion - 293


After dropping the first two sets of the match, the Virginia Tech volleyball team rallied to capture the next three and claim a 3-2 (22-25, 25-27, 25-22, 25-16, 15-10) victory over the Maryland Terrapins the Comcast Pavilion on Sunday afternoon. Redshirt junior Jennifer Wiker and junior Cara Baarendse were instrumental in ending Tech’s three-match conference slide, as both players set new season highs with 16 and 14 kills, respectively.

The Hokies bounced back in big way, with five different players matching or setting new career highs in the outing. Baarendse and classmate Morgan O’Neill matched career marks with 16 and 29 digs, respectively, while sophomore Samantha Gostling helped on a career-best six blocks and senior Justine Record scooped up 24 digs. Freshman Kathryn Caine blew her previous kills high out of the water as she threw down seven against the Terps, good for an impressive and season-best .429 hitting percentage.

Maryland (9-8, 3-2 ACC) took command of the opening set as it shot out to an 8-3 lead. Numerous three-point rallies eventually inched Tech (9-7, 2-3 ACC) to within two for the first time since the beginning of the match, at 15-13. The Terps kept just enough distance through the latter part of the set and went on to claim the opener, 25-22. Maryland saw the slight kills edge, 15-14, and out-blocked the Hokies, 4-0. O’Neill got the defense out to an impressive start, though, as she began the day with 11 digs.

The Hokies turned the tables on Maryland to kick off the second set as they ran up an 8-3 lead of their own and took off. A kill and two consecutive solo blocks from Wiker gave Tech a 15-8 lead and forced the Terps to regroup. Despite the difference, Maryland would not quit and used a 4-1 run to get within five, and later a 5-1 run to make it 22-19, Hokies. Tech kept the edge until the Terps rallied to tie it at 24 with four straight points. After taking its first lead at 26-25, Maryland took the second set, 27-25.

Close play would theme the third set as it saw 10 ties and three lead changes. Neither team could extend its lead to a comfortable distance, but a kill and an ace from sophomore Victoria Hamsher, paired with a Maryland error, allowed the Hokies to make it 19-16 and forced a Terp timeout. Maryland rallied back and took its first lead since the beginning of the match at 21-20 after a Tech error, but three straight errors by the Terps made it set point for the Hokies and a kill from Wiker gave Tech the 25-22 victory. Wiker, along with Gostling, combined or nine of Tech’s 14 kills in the set and were just one away from tying Maryland’s team total, 10, in the set.

Back-and-forth action would again begin the set, as numerous ties and lead changes dominated the start fourth set. The Hokies were the first to pull away as they extended a slight lead to four, at 12-9, and later put together a 6-1 rally and never looked back. They used five straight points to close out the set, 25-16, and even the match at 2-2.

Heading to a fifth set for the just the second time this season, the Hokies got out to an early 5-2 lead. Stealing back the momentum, Maryland rallied to tie it at five each, which forced a Tech timeout. Errors would again plague the Terps as two straight upped Tech’s advantage to 13-9 and another moments later would make it match point for the Hokies. Wiker and Baarendse got up at the net to end the day as they blocked a Maryland attempt and sealed the 15-10 win.

The victory is Tech’s first in three matches and first on the road this season, as it took the kills edge in the match, 62-57 and never hit below 50-percent. Tech also walked away with the blocks advantage, 13-10.

Senior Erin Leaser tallied an impressive 32 assists in the match, while sharing the setting duties with freshman Jordan Fish, who tossed up 19 assists. Remy McBain handled the setting duties for the Terps and racked up 46 assists in the match.

The Terps also had two players with double-digit kills and three with double-digit digs. Mary Cushman led the way with 16 kills and 17 digs, while Adreene Elliot threw down 12 kills and led both teams with seven blocks. Sarah Harper and Caroline Niski rounded out the digs leaders with 18 and 12, respectively.

Tech returns home this week to host Wake Forest on Thursday, Oct. 6 at 7:30 p.m. at Cassell Coliseum and Duke the following evening at 7 p.m.

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

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