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BLACKSBURG, Va. – The Virginia Tech volleyball team battled Pittsburgh in a match that had 24 ties and nine lead changes, but the Panthers held on for the 3-1 (25-20, 24-26, 19-25, 23-25) win in the final match of the season on Saturday night in ACC action at Cassell Coliseum.
“We had a great season,” said Head Coach Chris Riley. “It was a tough way to lose that final set 25-23, but we played a very good Pittsburgh team. It was great match, very competitive and the way you would like to play it.”
Hamsher knocked down 16 kills in her final match, hitting .438 on the attack. The middle blocker finishes her career with an attack percentage of .338, the second highest in Virginia Tech history. Her mark of .405 this season is the single-season record, breaking Felicia Willoughby’s mark of .402. Hamsher’s 425 career blocks places her fifth all-time in the Hokies’ annals and her block assist mark of 376 is good for second on the list.
Kathryn Caine added 10 kills in the match and Samantha Gostling posted nine. Jordan Fish put up 40 assists. On the defensive side, Kenedy McGrath and Megan Beckwith each tallied 17 digs. LaTasha Samson-Akpan posted five blocks including three solos.
“We had terrific seniors, Sam Gostling, Tori Hamsher, Allison Munter and Corrie Sanders,” Riley said. “I couldn’t thank them enough for everything they’ve done for Virginia Tech volleyball.”
The Hokies got out to the lead in the opening set, going up 13-9 midway through off a kill from Lindsey Owens. Pitt kept it close and was within two at 14-12 as Monica Wignot knocked down a kill. The Hokies answered, scoring on the next two rallies to extend their lead back to four, forcing the Panthers to call a timeout. Pittsburgh looked to make a late run and again closed to within two at 20-18 as Tech called the timeout. Tech responded to close out the set with a 5-2 run and take the 25-20 win.
In the second set, the two teams kept it close and were tied early at 10-10. Pittsburgh went on a 5-2 run to break open the scoring, taking a 15-12 lead off a kill. Tech answered with a 5-2 run of its own to tie the set up at 17-17 off a Pitt error. The two teams traded points over the next several rallies and were knotted at 24-24. The Panthers secured the 26-24 win with a kill followed by an ace to tie the match at 1-1.
The Hokies took an early lead in the third frame, going up 8-4 off a kill from Fish, but Pittsburgh battled back and tied it up at 11-11. Tech and Pitt traded points and were still tied up at 14-14, but the Panthers scored on back-to-back rallies to go on top 16-14. The Hokies were unable to put together a run over the final points as Pitt took the set 25-19 and a 2-1 lead in the match.
In the final set, the Hokies took a 12-7 lead, but the Panthers battled back, scoring five unanswered to tie it up at 12-12. The two teams traded points, over the next rallies and were tied at 15-15. Tech pulled ahead, going up 17-15 off a kill from Fish, but Pitt again responded, scoring two straight to tie it up for the fifth time. The Hokies and the Panthers were knotted for the final time at 20-20 before Pitt went on a 4-1 run to get to match point. Tech looked to threaten late and cut it down to one at 24-23, but a kill from Wignot secured the set (25-23) and the match for the Panthers.
Wignot finished the match with 18 kills to lead all attackers. Maria Genitsaridi added 13 kills and Jessica Wynn tallied 11 for the Panthers (19-14, 11-9 ACC). Delaney Clesen recorded 31 digs on the defensive side while Jenna Potts and Wynn tallied six blocks each.
The Hokies wrap up the season with a 22-12 record and 10-10 in the ACC. Tech’s 22 wins matches the most overall wins for the program since the 1995 season when the Hokies finished 22-12.
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