Duke edges Hokies in five sets

Duke (13-8 (5-5 ACC)) 27192525153
Virginia Tech (8-13 (2-8 ACC)) 29252315132
  • Cassell Coliseum - 787

Box Score (PDF)

BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech’s volleyball team, which held a 2-1 record in five setters, fell to Duke, 3-2, Sunday afternoon at Carilion Clinic Court at Cassell Coliseum, despite four Hokies owning 10-plus kills apiece.

Tech’s (8-13, 2-8 ACC) balanced attack consisted of kills from Stacey Christy (13), Kaity Smith (15), Ester Talamazzi (15) and Jaila Tolbert (14), but the Blue Devils (13-8, 5-5 ACC) hung on to win the final set 15-13.

Jumping out to an 11-7 lead to begin the match, Duke took a timeout to stop Tech’s momentum. With the halt in action, the Blue Devils responded and went on a 9-3 run to claim the lead, 16-14, causing a Tech timeout. Play seesawed going forward as both teams stopped runs on numerous occasions resulting in 14 ties following the break. The Hokies, led by Talamazzi’s six kills in the set, went on to win a 29-27 thriller in the opener.

Tied at 9-9 in the second stanza, Tech went on a 3-0 run to force a Duke timeout and never looked back. It extended its advantage to six points at 23-17, its biggest lead of the match, and finished strong to claim the second frame, 25-19. It marked Tech’s second-straight match of winning the first two sets, which was the first time this year that the Hokies have done so.

Gaining the advantage in the early going at 9-6, Tech could not stop the Blue Devils as they made a comeback to tie it up at 13-all. No team would gain a larger lead than three points following the tie, but Duke fight off Tech’s push at the end to take the third set, 25-23.

Duke started the fourth set scoring eight of the first 10 points, causing a Tech timeout at 8-2. The Hokies would cut the deficit to four, 10-6, but the Blue Devils put an end to Tech’s run and would go on a 15-9 stretch to take the fourth stanza, 25-15.

For all the marbles in the final frame, Duke rushed to an 8-5 lead before the teams switched sides. Following the pause in play, the Blue Devils kept momentum their way going on a 6-3 run to make it match point at 14-9. With their backs against the wall, the Hokies roared back with a four-point swing, however, Duke would get the final point to clinch it, 15-13.


- Tolbert stayed hot once again, turning in 14 kills, three digs and a block. The Minnesota native has hit north of .300 in her last seven matches, and owns 51 kills her last three matches.

- Setter Rhegan Mitchell dished out her third-most assists of the year (55) and almost had a double-double, adding nine digs and tying a season-high five kills.

- Senior Rhana Mitchell played her best match of the season, setting a season-high 10 digs, which also ties a career high. The last time the Georgia native had 10 digs was against Syracuse on Nov. 20, 2016.

- Libero Carol Raffety recorded her 13th-straight match of 10-plus digs, scooping up a season-best 24 to move her season total to 310. The sophomore also registered seven assists, tying a career high which was set opening weekend versus Milwaukee.

- Talamazzi pounded down 15 kills, her sixth time of hitting that mark or more, and posted six digs, a match-high three service aces and an assist.

- Smith tallied her third double-double of the season, racking up 15 kills and 12 digs, while stopping two attacks at the net.

- Christy tied a career-best 13 kills and hit a clip of .545, marking her highest hitting percentage since the opener versus Idaho State.


- Tech, for the first time this season, had four players tally 13-plus kills in Smith (15), Talamazzi (15), Tolbert (14) and Christy (13).



The Hokies will hit the road this upcoming weekend as they take on Syracuse on Friday at 7 p.m. ET and Boston College on Sunday at 1 p.m.

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

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