BLACKSBURG, Va. – Junior outside hitter Samantha Gostling knocked down 23 kills to lead the Virginia Tech volleyball team past Middle Tennessee 3-1 (18-25, 25-17, 25-17, 25-18) on Saturday evening in the final match of the Hilton Garden Inn Hokie Invitational at Cassell Coliseum.
Gostling had 23 kills on 44 attempts with just five errors to hit for 40.9 percent while adding six digs and four blocks
Tech’s (4-2) Jennifer Wiker and Victoria Hamsher added nine kills each with Hamsher also tallying a match-high six blocks. Jordan Fish put up 47 assists and Morgan O'Neill and Kenedy McGrath tallied 14 and 10 digs, respectively.
Gostling claimed tournament MVP honors after posting 42 kills, 16 digs and eight blocks on the weekend. Fish had 121 assists in the three-matches while Kathryn Caine hit 54.5 percent and tallied 22 kills as the two joined Gostling on the All-Tournament team.
The Blue Raiders (3-4) were led by Chelsea Ross with 15 kills and Ashley Adams with 13. Shelby Anderton posted 24 assists while Bri McCombs had 15 digs.
The Hokies got out to an early 7-2 lead in the opening set, but the Blue Raiders answered with a 7-0 run to take a 9-7 advantage behind the serving of Halie Vannoy. MT extended its lead to 20-14, but the Hokies looked to make a run late, cutting the gap to three (20-17). The Blue Raiders closed out the set with a 5-1 run to take the 25-18 win and a 1-0 lead in the match.
Tech came out strong in the second set, hitting 48 percent with 13 kills and just one error. The Hokies jumped out to an 11-6 advantage. MT cut the lead down to four, but Tech responded with an 8-4 run to take its largest lead at 19-11. Tech rolled on to the 25-17 win to tie the match at 1-1.
The third set was much like the second as the Hokies got out to a 12-8 lead. Tech extended its lead to 16-11, forcing a Blue Raiders’ timeout. MT cut it down to 20-16, but Tech closed out the set with 5-1 run to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
In the fourth frame, Tech and Middle Tennessee kept it close early and were tied at 11 before the Hokies went on a 7-2 run to go up 18-13 off an ace from McGrath, forcing a MT timeout. The Blue Raiders pulled within three (19-16), but the Hokies proved too much as they closed out the set with a 6-2 run to clinch the set, 25-18 and the match 3-1.
In addition to Gostling, Fish and Caine, MT’s Ross and McCombs were named to the All-Tournament team along with Harvard’s Taylor Docter and Towson’s Katy Buck.
The Hokies will return to action on the road Sept. 7-8 at the High Point University Classic in High Point, N.C. Tech will face Loyola Marymount at 4:30 p.m. on Friday. On Saturday, the Hokies will play George Mason in a 1 p.m. match before squaring off against host team HPU at 7 p.m.
For updates on Virginia Tech volleyball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_VBall).