Hokies claim A-State Invitational

SMU (3-3) 2324200
Virginia Tech (5-1) 2526253
  • Jonesboro, Ark.

JONESBORO, Ark. – Beginning the first two weeks of the season on a high note, Virginia Tech’s volleyball team put together another impressive performance Saturday evening as the Hokies claimed their second-straight tournament, defeating SMU, 3-0, inside the Convocation Center to capture the A-State Invitational title.

Tech (5-1) won the Pepsi Panther Invitational opening weekend in Milwaukee and with the win over the Mustangs (3-3), earned its second title in as many weeks.

Setter Rhegan Mitchell, outside hitter Ester Talamazzi (MVP) and right side hitter Jaila Tolbert were named to the All-Tournament Team.

After playing arguably their best defensive match of the season last night against Arkansas State in a 3-1 win, the Hokies put together a well balanced attack both offensively and defensively, tallying 50 kills and holding SMU to a .178 hitting percentage, including a .000 clip in the final set.

Starting in the first set, Tech jumped out to an early advantage, leading 6-3 behind Jaila Tolbert’s three kills before the Mustangs took a timeout. The set would go back and forth following SMU’s timeout as it was knotted 21-21. Freshman Kaity Smith rose to the occasion, manufacturing three kills in the next four points to preserve the opening frame.

Set two was a tightly contested affair with four lead changes and no team leading by more than three points. Despite trailing 24-22, the Hokies showed some resiliency and went on a 4-0 run to take the middle frame, keeping them a perfect 6-0 in the second set on the season.

Tech showcased its biggest lead of the match going up 15-10 in the final frame, however, a Mustang run cut the lead to one point, 19-18. The Hokies, as they did in the second set, rallied and finished the final points strong going on a 5-1 run to win 25-20.


- For the second consecutive match, Smith, Talamazzi and Tolbert each tallied double digit kills. All three players have racked up 60-plus kills on the season.

- Mitchell dished out 43 assists, which is tied for the eighth-most in the country in a three-set match. The redshirt junior racked up 122 assists on the weekend.

- Earning Most Valuable Player of the tournament, Talamazzi put up career best numbers on the weekend, tallying 38 kills, 28 digs and four blocks in the tournament.

- Today’s match marked the second time that the Hokies have won in three sets as they beat South Dakota State, 3-0, on Aug. 25.

- Five players have been named to an All-Tournament Team through two weeks of the season in Stacey Christy (Pepsi Panther Invitational), Mitchell (Pepsi Panther Invitational, A-State Invitational), Smith (Pepsi Panther Invitational), Talamazzi (A-State Invitational) and Tolbert (A-State Invitational).

- Of those five players, Tech has garnered the MVPs from those tournaments – Rhegan Mitchell (Pepsi Panther Invitational) and Ester Talamazzi (A-State Invitational).


Tech racked up 50 kills as a team in three sets, which is tied for the 24th most in the country while playing in only three sets.


"It was a really good win against a very good team because SMU has been in the NCAAs the last few years. I was proud of our team because this was probably our most complete match this year. You always want to keep getting better and, throughout this weekend, we definitely did that.”



The Hokies will enter the third weekend of the season in Huntington, West Virginia, as Tech will compete in a four-team tournament made up of Marshall, Maryland and Toledo on Sept. 8-9.


Ester Talamazzi, Virginia Tech (MVP)
Jaila Tolbert, Virginia Tech
Rhegan Mitchell, Virginia Tech
Lauren Mills, SMU
Kelly Brunstein, SMU
Drew Jones, A-State
Emily Stroup, Ole Miss

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