Hokies fall on the road to North Carolina, 3-1

Virginia Tech (7-11) 252120161
North Carolina (8-7) 222525253
  • Dean Smith Center - 19,246

Box Score (PDF)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – In front of a record crowd of 19,246, the most in NCAA volleyball history, three Virginia Tech volleyball players tallied 10-plus kills, but it was not enough as preseason ACC favorite North Carolina won, 3-1, inside the Smith Center Friday evening.

The trio, made up of Kaity Smith (19 kills), Ester Talamazzi (11) and Jaila Tolbert (11), combined for 41 of Tech’s (7-11, 1-6 ACC) 53 kills on the night versus the Tar Heels (8-7, 5-2 ACC).

Starting the match on the right foot, the Hokies earned the early advantage, 6-5, before a North Carolina timeout. Out of the break, play would go back and forth with each team scoring eight points to make it 14-13, and then Tech got hot and went on a 7-1 run, forcing another UNC timeout. With the score at 21-14, Carolina would make a run of its own cutting the Hokies’ lead to two, 24-22, but the freshmen pair of Kai Young and Smith rose to the occasion and blocked a Tar Heel to claim the first set, 25-22.

After a Carol Raffety ace and a Talamazzi kill to bring the score to 8-all, Carolina would go on a 7-3 run before a media timeout. UNC would continue scoring to make its lead 18-13, however, Smith rattled off three-straight kills to cut the deficit to two. The two-point differential at 18-16 would be the closest Tech could trim it as the Tar Heels went on to win the second stanza, 25-21.

Knotted at 7-7 to begin the third frame following a Rhegan Mitchell ace, UNC would score six of the next seven points, causing a Tech timeout. The Tar Heels would keep the momentum after the pause in action, pushing its lead to 19-10, forcing Tech to burn another timeout. Head coach Jill Wilson’s squad went on a 7-4 run to make Carolina call a timeout at 23-17, but UNC scored two more to win 25-20.

In the final frame, the Tar Heels jumped out to a 7-2 lead, then a 14-5 lead. The Hokies did dig deep though, scoring seven consecutive points to cut it to a two-point deficit behind four kills in a row from Smith. UNC responded with scoring four-straight to make it 18-12 and the lead would be too much for the Hokies as they fell 25-16 in the fourth set.


- Smith recorded 19 kills on the night, marking her most since Sept. 9 against Toledo. The outside hitter hit. 302, which is the fourth time this fall she has hit over .300.

- Mitchell dished out 43 assists, her third-straight 40-plus match, and posted eight digs and a kill. The Georgia native has had at least one kill in four out of her last five matches.

- Talamazzi turned in her sixth double-double of the year, racking up 11 kills and 15 digs.

- Young followed up her best match of the season (career highs - four kills, three blocks) against Notre Dame with another strong performance, chipping in two kills and tying a career-high three blocks.

- Tolbert hit north of .400 for the third match in a row, which was the best hitting percentage on the team tonight (.421). The junior put down 11 kills and had two blocks.

- Raffety recorded her 10th-straight match of 10-plus digs, recording 11 to move her season total to 256.

- Redshirt senior Stacey Christy hit .333 on her way to seven kills. The Maryland native has posted 18 kills in her last three matches at the middle blocker spot.

- Defensive specialist Rhana Mitchell scooped up a season-high six digs, topping her previous mark of three against Milwaukee on Aug. 26.


- Similar to the Florida State match on Sept. 24, the Hokies outplayed their opponent in three major categories statistically, despite taking a loss. Tech earned 53 kills, 50 assists and 50 digs compared to UNC’s 52 kills, 44 assists and 46 digs.



The Hokies will continue their stay in the Tar Heel State, taking on NC State on Sunday at 2 p.m. The match will be streamed live on ACC Network Extra.

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

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