Hokies defeated by Pitt to close season

123F
Pitt (24-6 (17-2 ACC)) 2526273
Virginia Tech (10-21 (4-16 ACC)) 2224250
  • Cassell Coliseum - 511

Box Score (PDF)

BLACKSBURG – To close the regular season Friday evening, the Virginia Tech volleyball team fell to the hands of Pitt, 3-0, at Carilion Clinic Court at Cassell Coliseum.

The Hokies (10-21, 4-16 ACC) were led by junior Jaila Tolbert and freshman Kaity Smith, who tallied 11 kills apiece against the Panthers (24-6, 17-2 ACC).

Starting set one down one out of the gate at 9-8 after back-to-back aces from senior Cara Cunningham, the Panthers responded going on a 7-4 run going into the media timeout. From that point forward, the teams would score 10 points apiece, giving Pitt the win, 25-22.

The middle frame consisted of a back and forth affair as there were 15 ties, the most of any set. Knotted at 9-9, no team would gain a greater lead than two points, which got it all the way to 24-24 following a kill from Tolbert. The Panthers would score the next two points to claim the nail-biter, 26-24.

Beginning the frame tied at 10-10, head coach Jill Wilson’s squad put together a run, scoring seven of the next nine points behind back-to-back kills from freshman Marisa Cerchio to take a 17-12 lead. However, the Panthers made a comeback to tie it at 22-all, and then edged the Hokies in the final moments, winning 27-25.

Six seniors were honored following the contest, including Stacey Christy, Cunningham, Kelly Esch, Briana Lanktree, Rhana Mitchell and Mandy Powers, as well as redshirt sophomore Haley Price. Graduate assistant Brianna Harper and four-year manager Laurent RItt were honored for their commitment to the program, too.

NOTES

- Cunningham finished strong, tallying four kills, four blocks, two digs and service aces in the match. The two aces wraps up her career with a total of 41, while the Fairfax, Virginia native finished with 269 blocks as a Hokie.

- Setter Rhegan Mitchell dished out 35 assists, while posting eight digs and a kill. Mitchell finished the season with 1,022 assists, the most by a Hokie since 2013.

- Sophomore Carol Raffety scooped up a team-high 20 digs and recorded two assists. The libero collected over 400 digs for the second-straight season.

- Tolbert registered 11 kills and eight digs, while hitting .333. The Minnesota native hit over the .300 mark an impressive 20 times this fall.

- Smith put down 11 kills, while logging six digs and two blocks. The outside hitter now sits sixth all-time in the record books for total kills by a freshman (309) and fifth for kills per set (3.25).

- Cerchio tallied nine kills, her most since Oct. 8 against Notre Dame, and a block.

STAT OF THE MATCH

- Despite falling in three sets, the Hokies fought with the Panthers, who sit atop the ACC standings with Louisville, as the match totalled 28 ties and nine lead changes.

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