Hokies start volleyball season in Wisconsin

Game Notes

BLACKSBURG – Opening up the season, Virginia Tech Volleyball travels to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to participate in the Pepsi Panther Invitational. Tech will compete against Idaho State (11 a.m. ET) and South Dakota State (6 p.m.) on Friday, and will wrap up the four-team tournament on Saturday against hosts Milwaukee at 2:30 p.m. inside the Klotsche Center.

All three matches will be streamed live online. The first two matches on Friday will be aired on YouTube and Saturday’s match will stream on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.

The Hokies return 13 letterwinners and add five newcomers for first-year head coach Jill Wilson. Jaila Tolbert and Carol Raffety headline the group as Tolbert led the team last year in hitting percentage (.301) and Raffety broke the school record in the digs category with 481.

Tech is 23-17 all-time in season openers, however, it has been on a roll in the last decade compiling a 9-1 record. Last fall, it went a perfect 3-0 to open up the season.

For the first time since 2007, the Hokies will battle Miwaukee. The all-time series between Milwaukee and Tech stands at a 2-1 Panthers lead as UWM won the last affair 3-1 in Milwaukee. Tech has never played the Bengals or Jackrabbits.



• Coming off a 16-15 season in 2016, the Bengals were picked sixth in the Big Sky preseason poll out of 12 teams. They return five starters from last year’s squad.
• Idaho State is led by redshirt senior Chloe Hirst, who racked up 445 kills and 31 service aces last fall. Redshirt senior Marissa Todd returns, she tallied 387 kills, 300 digs and and 66 blocks in 2016.
• Third-year head coach Rick Reynolds owns a 39-25 record in Pocatello while ISU welcomes five newcomers.


• The Jackrabbits enter 2017 after posting a 5-23 overall record, however, they return five starters.
• Head coach Nicole Cirillo, who is in her third year, probable starters are sophomores Makenzie Hennen (2.26 kps) and Ashlynn Smith (1.45 kps, .224) on the outside, junior Sierra Peterson (1.41 kps & 0.67 bps) on the right side; junior Payton Richardson and freshman Macy Smith are in the middle; junior Mattison Munger (8.99 aps) setting and senior Ellie Benson (4.54 dps) as libero.
• In the alumni match, Hennen led the Jackrabbits with 16 kills and Peterson added 13. Defensively, Benson recorded 14 digs.


• Milwaukee was picked fourth in the preseason coaches poll, earning 60 points in the Horizon League. The 2016 squad finished 15-13 overall and 9-7 in the conference.
• Sophomore middle blocker Bridget Wallenberger returns after being named the Horizon League Freshman of the Year and earning all-league honors last year. She led the team in hitting percentage (.259), service aces (23) and blocks per set (1.08) and was second in kills per set (2.91).
• Sophomore Kylie Wiks is back after a memorable freshman campaign where she garnered Horizon League All-Freshman Team. She was one of four Panthers to post over 200 kills.

For updates on Virginia Tech volleyball, follow the Hokies on Twitter and on Instagram @vthokievolleyball Instagram

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