BLACKSBURG, Va. – The Virginia Tech volleyball team battled No. 13 North Carolina on Friday night to five sets, but the Tar Heels proved too much, holding off the Hokies for the 3-2 (25-20, 21-25, 22-25, 25-22, 15-6) win at Cassell Coliseum.
Kathryn Caine tallied 15 kills, hitting .361 on the attack for the Hokies (17-5, 5-3 ACC) while Lindsey Owens recorded her fifth double-double of the season with 14 kills and 11 digs. Victoria Hamsher added 11 kills for the offense. Jordan Fish tallied her second double-double in as many games and her seventh of the season with 47 assists and 14 digs.
UNC (18-1, 7-1 ACC) came out strong in the first set, jumping out to a 13-8 lead, but the Hokies answered to pull within one at 14-13 off a block from Owens and Hamsher. The Heels extended their lead, going up 20-17 to force the Tech timeout. Virginia Tech closed to within two over the next several rallies, but the Tar Heels would hold on to the lead and take the 25-20 win.
In the second set the Hokies and Heels kept it close early and were tied at 10-10. The Heels went on a run to pull ahead by four at 16-12, but the Hokies again responded, outscoring the Heels 8-4 to tie it up at 20-20 off another Hamsher and Owens block. The two teams were tied again at 21-21, but three straight kills by Tech put the Hokies up 24-21. A block from Hamsher and Katie Krueger captured the point Tech needed to secure the win in the second set.
The Hokies dominated in the third frame, taking a 17-9 lead as Gostling and LaTasha Samson-Akpan combined for the block. UNC looked to rally late in the set and went on an 8-5 run to close the gap to five at 22-17 on a kill. The Tar Heels cut it down to two at 24-22 but a UNC error on the next rally gave Tech the point to win 25-22.
In the fourth frame, the Tar Heels took the early lead and were up by seven at 20-13. The Hokies rallied late, going on a 7-3 run to close the score to 23-20 off a kill from Caine. UNC scored on the next rally to get to set point, but the Hokies rolled off two straight, closing to 24-22. The Tar Heels’ Jovana Bjelica knocked down a kill for the set winning point.
The two teams kept it close early with the Tar Heels holding a slight 7-6 advantage at the midway point. UNC went on an 8-0 run to close out the set, securing the 15-6 win.
Bjelica led all attackers with 17 kills. Leigh Andrew added 12 while Kayla Berringer and Lauren Adkins recorded 11 each. Abigail Curry and Jordyn Schnable put up 31 and 26 assists, respectively. For the defense, Ece Taner had 20 digs and Paige Neuenfeldt tallied three blocks.
The Hokies will be back on the court on Wednesday, Oct. 23, hosting in-state ACC rival Virginia. Match time is set for 7 p.m. at Cassell Coliseum.
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