September 9, 2016
Hokies drop heartbreaker to Ole Miss, 3-2
Cunningham, Lanktree set career-highs in blocks

NASHVILLE -- The Virginia Tech volleyball team, playing two starters down for the second-consecutive match, came all the way back from two sets down to force a deciding fifth set but the valiant effort wasn’t enough as the Hokies (4-4) fell to Ole Miss, 3-2, in its second match of the Lipscomb Invitational on Friday.

Senior Lindsey Owens and Amanda McKinzie each turned in double-doubles for Tech while junior Cara Cunningham posted a match and career-best 11 blocks in the middle. The Hokies dominated at the net where they out-blocked Ole Miss, 17.5-7.

Tech trailed 23-14 in the first set but three Ole Miss errors and a kill from sophomore Jaila Tolbert cut the Hokie deficit to 23-18. It wouldn’t be enough though as the Rebels pulled away with the first set victory, 25-19.

After dropping the second set, 25-19, Tech stayed close with the Rebels early on in the third. With the score knotted up at 11-11, the Hokies made a move. A kill from sophomore Briana Lanktree and an Ole Miss error capped off a 4-0 spurt and forced the Rebels to call a timeout with Tech leading 14-11. Tech would lead from that point forward, extending its lead to as big as five after a kill from Cunningham and later taking the third, 25-23.

The story was the same in the fourth where the Hokies led wire-to-wire. McKinzie led the way with five kills in the 25-18 fourth-set victory for the Hokies that forced a deciding fifth set.

In the fifth, the Hokies fell behind early but tied the score at 4-4 after a kill from Owens. It would be the final tie score of the match though as Ole Miss would go to take the set, 15-10, and the match, 3-2.


  • The Hokies second match of the day on Friday marked their fourth five-set match this season. Tech is now 2-2 in those matches.
  • By the third set, head coach Chris Riley rotated freshman Gaby Senties and junior Mandy Powers at setter in the absence of sophomore Rhegan Mitchell. Senties finished with 18 assists and nine digs while Powers posted 24 assists and six digs.
  • Cunningham recorded fourth five-plus block performance of the season with her career-high seven swats against the Rebels.
  • Cunningham shattered her previous high of seven set against Liberty on Sept. 19 of last season.
  • Lanktree came off the bench and turned career-highs with five blocks, seven kills and a .312 hitting percentage.
  • Senior Katie Kreuger saw the floor for the first time this season and served a beautiful ball to the back row that led to a Tech point.
  • Junior Stacey Christy racked up a career-best five blocks and hit .500 (8-2-15).

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