CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Putting a dramatic finish to regular season action, the Virginia Tech volleyball team rallied to claim a 3-2 (25-20, 25-22, 21-25, 19-25, 15-9) win at Virginia in Memorial Gym Friday evening. The Hokies took the first two sets, but let the following two slip away before dominating the deciding game to earn their seventh five-set victory of the season. Tech also extended its longest winning streak of the season to five matches with the victory over its in-state rival.
Jennifer Wiker again led the Tech offense with 18 kills, while Justine Record earned her 12th double-double of the season with 13 kills and 13 digs. Simone Asque paced the Cavalier offense with 14 kills.
The Hokies (18-13, 11-9 ACC) began to dominate early as they broke a 3-3 tie in the opening set and took off running. Four straight points by Record made it 14-6, and the Cavaliers (10-20, 4-16 ACC) were never able to make up ground. Tech went on to take the first set 25-20, owning the kills edge 16-13, much in part to Record’s six kills.
Carrying the momentum into the second set, the Hokies again jumped out to an early lead but Virginia slowly chipped away at the difference and eventually tied things up at 17 all. After four more ties, Tech strung together three straight points to go up 2-0 in the match with a 25-22, second-set win. The Hokies held on to the offensive advantage, leading 15-12 in kills.
The Cavaliers made a big turnaround after the break as they rallied for six straight points early on to go up 7-3 and never looked back. The Hokies attempted to get back into it, and despite still taking the kills lead, 15-12, they were never able to overcome the difference. Virginia took the third set, 25-21.
In a set that saw seven ties and four lead changes, back-and-forth play themed the opening points of the fourth set. Virginia took the early lead and though Tech was able to get within one on multiple occasions, it wouldn’t match the Cavaliers until a 9-9 tie. The Hokies regained control of the set after breaking an 11-all deadlock. The lead didn’t last long, as Virginia rallied for a 7-1 run to go up 23-17 and eventually forced a fifth set with a 25-19 win. The Cavaliers finally took the kills edge, 19-12, as Asque threw down seven in the set.
Responding how they usually do in the deciding set, the Hokies exploded early in the fifth set. They put together a 6-1 run after breaking a 5-5 tie, and closed out the match with a 15-9 win. Tech hit at a .333 clip and got up for three blocks, which helped hold the Cavaliers to a .000 hitting percentage.
Cara Baarendse was the third and final player in double-figures offensively for the Hokies with 15 kills in the match, while Erin Leaser tossed up an impressive 56 assists on the night. Laura Misiewicz led the defense with 25 digs and Victoria Hamsher got up for eight blocks in the match.
Tori Janowski earned a double-double for the Cavaliers with 12 kills and 12 digs, while Emily Rottman also notched a double-double with 12 kills and 22 digs. Beth Wildermuth handled the setting duties and tallied 47 assists in the match.
Tech led in every statistical category including kills, 66-61, and blocks, 15.5-7.
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