November 25, 2015
Hokies defeat Panthers in 3-2 upset
Ashley Battle inks her name in Tech's record books with her 13-block performance
Virginia Tech (18-13) 21251825163
Pitt (22-9) 25232512142
  • Fitzgerald FH - 226

PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Led by the attack of Lindsey Owens and Amanda McKinzie and blocking by Ashley Battle, the Tech volleyball team outlasted the five-set duel at Pitt to mark the Hokies third consecutive win.

The squads battled from the get-go, beginning with nine tie scores in the opening frame to total 39 with 13 lead changes. The Hokies five-set win tonight marks the first such victory for the squad this season and the third in the past two seasons.

Battle upped her single-match career high with 13 total blocks (11 assists, 2 solo), placing her second in Tech’s individual match record books. Her 13-block outing places on two single season record leaderboards: ninth in total blocks and tied for fourth in block assists.

The Owens-McKinzie pair downed 13 kills apiece, followed by Jaila Tolbert’s eight and Kennedy Bryan’s seven. Rhegan Mitchell and Kyra Coundourides provided key transitions, tallying 21 and 25 assists, respectively, leading to Tech’s improved 9-10 mark in conference play and 18-13 overall.

Pitt’s Kadi Kullerkann steadied the Panthers throughout the match, tallying a team-high of 17 kills. Mariah Bell and Amanda Orchard also posted double-figure kills for the squad. Jenna Jacobson posted the lone double-double for the Panthers with 32 assists and 12 digs. However, Tech’s defense, led by Kenedy McGrath’s 18 digs and Owen’s double-double with 14 digs, kept the Panthers at bay, slipping to a 22-9 overall mark and 12-7 in the ACC.

The Hokies and Panthers set the tone for the match in the opening set with heavy back-and-forth action. Tech quickly used both timeouts but a kill by Bryan brought the Hokies back to life late in the frame. Ultimately, the Hokies fell short 21-25. Despite the opening setback, Tolbert hit a perfect 3-for-3 as Owens attacked 4-for-7 rate.

Tech takes a 7-5 lead early in the second frame but Pitt escaped to an 11-8 lead. Haley Price came in to serve for the Hokies, turning into a block Cara Cunningham to force a Pitt timeout. Kills by McKinzie and Tolbert lifted the Hokies through a 23-23 game, securing the 25-23 win to even up the match at 1-1.

The Panthers showed their power in the third set as the Hokies slipped to a 0-3 deficit. Despite the Hokies quickly evening the match at 5-all in addition to two more tie scores, the Panthers came away with the 25-18 victory.

Tech quickly bounced back in the fourth frame, holding Pitt to a -.216 mark. The Hokies ensured the 25-12 set win by posting 10 of their 28 total blocks in the frame, led by Battle’s six followed by three apiece from Tolbert and Owens.

The Hokies continued to dominate through the fifth set as the Panthers attacked at a slightly higher, .043 clip. Tech and Pitt concluded the match the same way it started with nine tie scores and six lead changes. However, Tech prevailed as the victor with a 16-14 decision.

The Hokies conclude the 2015 season on Saturday for Senior Day against Virginia. The 4 p.m. match is presented by Virginia529, the official college savings plan of Virginia Tech Athletics. It is also a potential half point in the Virginia529 Commonwealth Clash, the point rivalry series between the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech. Currently the score for the Clash is University of Virginia 3.5 and Virginia Tech 0. Learn more about Virginia529 and this new competition at

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