BLACKSBURG, Va. – The Virginia Tech volleyball team used consistent play through four sets to claim its first win over North Carolina since 2009 as it took a 3-1 (25-20, 18-25, 25-20, 25-20) victory Friday evening at Cassell Coliseum. Tech’s last win over the Tar Heels came the last time the Heels were in Blacksburg, Oct. 9, 2009, when it battled to a 3-2 victory.
Senior Justine Record led the offense with 17 kills, while also adding 19 digs for her 11th double-double of the season. Junior Cara Baarendse also earned a double-double in the match with 11 kills and 13 digs, this was her sixth of the year. Rounding out the double-digit kills crew for the Hokies was redshirt-junior Jennifer Wiker, who tallied 15 on the night.
Leading the offense for the Tar Heels was Kayla Berringer, who threw down 15 kills, while Emily McGee was close behind with 14, also adding 21 digs as the only North Carolina player with a double-double. Tia Gaffen was the third and final Tar Heel in double figures offensively with 12 kills.
North Carolina (21-8, 13-5 ACC) came out to take a 3-0 lead to begin the match but the Hokies (16-13, 9-9 ACC) were not shaken and battled back with three consecutive points of their own. Back-and-forth play would ensue until Tech broke a 9-9 tie and created some distance. Neither team was able to string together a long run, but the Hokies did hold on to a difference just large enough to claim a 25-20 opening-set victory. Tech saw the slight kills edge, 15-14, while holding North Carolina to a .175 hitting percentage, hitting at a .282 clip itself.
The Tar Heels came ready to fight in the second set and never allowed Tech the opportunity to get anything going. Close play plagued the opening points of the second set, but North Carolina pulled away from an 11-10 score and never looked back, eventually claiming the game, 25-18. Gaffen led the way for the Heels with six of their 21 kills, helping them to a .364 hitting percentage, while Wiker paced the Tech offense with five of the Hokies’ 10 kills in the set.
Tech came out of the break to earn the first three points of the third set, but the lead wouldn’t last long as the Tar Heels responded with three points of their own. Continuing on like the first set, numerous ties themed the play. The Hokies broke an 11-all tie to again create a distance North Carolina would be unable to overcome. The Tar Heels fought their way back to get within one at 19-18, but Tech used a 4-0 run to create a buffer and went on to take another 25-20 win. Record led the Hokies with seven kills in the set, as Tech took the team advantage 16-14.
The fourth set began with close play from the very beginning and saw 10 ties and two lead changes by the end. The Hokies pulled away midway through the set when they used a kill from senior Erin Leaser to break a 10-all tie. North Carolina kept things close, often getting back to within one but it was unable to tie things up or regain the lead. The Hokies used a 3-0 run to closeout the final set, again at 25-20. Tech threw down 16 kills for the second straight set, while North Carolina tallied just 10 in the set.
Leaser tossed up an impressive 47 assists in the outing, while Laura Misiewicz led the defense with 21 digs. For the first time this season, Leaser led the Hokies at the net with four blocks against the Heels.
Erica Behm handled the setting for North Carolina and finished the day with 41 assists. Two players behind McGee notched double-digit digs as Kaylie Gibson came up with 20 and Aleksandra Georgieva had 10. Gaffen led the Heels at the net with seven blocks in the match.
In the match, North Carolina saw the kills advantage, 59-57, but Tech was the more efficient team as it hit at a .244 clip, compared the Carolina’s .197 hitting percentage. The Hokies claimed the slight edge on defense with 76 digs, while North Carolina scooped up 75. The Tar Heels walked away with the lead at the net, though, tallying 13 block in the game, while the Hokies had just seven.
Tech returns to action tomorrow evening as it hosts NC State on Senior Night. The match is set to begin at 6 p.m.
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