Virginia drops two ACC matches
Volleyball team’s conference record falls to 0-3; Miami, No. 15 Florida State defeat unranked squad
The Virginia volleyball team dropped both its matches this weekend, falling 3-0 to Miami and 3-1 to No. 15 Florida State in Charlottesville.
The Cavaliers (5-8, 0-3 ACC) were expecting a challenging weekend even before the matches began. Florida State entered as the only ranked team in the ACC with Miami barely missing the cut, receiving the second most votes of any team outside of the top 25.
“It’s definitely a faster paced game when we play these two teams because they’re some of the best teams in the country,” sophomore middle hitter Morgan Blair said. “The conference is getting better and better and those two teams are leading it.”
The weekend opened Friday night with the Cavaliers’ valiant efforts to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Hurricanes (10-3, 2-1 ACC) falling short. Virginia used a 5-0 run in the third game to force a winning score beyond 25, but Miami prevailed to earn the 22-25, 19-25, 25-27 win.
Miami had grabbed the lead in a hard-fought first game in which neither team led by more than three points. The Hurricanes pulled ahead with the score tied at 22-22 by winning three straight points, taking advantage of two Cavalier errors. Miami carried that momentum into the second game, limiting Virginia to a .108 hitting percentage to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
The third game was a statistical nightmare for the Cavaliers, who hit a paltry .073 and had eight hitting errors. But every time Miami seemed ready to run away with the victory, the Cavaliers would respond with a run of their own. With Virginia holding a 14-10 lead, Miami scored five straight points, but the Cavaliers produced a 3-1 run following a timeout to regain the edge. The Hurricanes forced match point with a 7-3 stretch, but the home team did not go quietly, taking five consecutive points to take a 25-24 lead.
Miami ultimately prevailed courtesy of another three-point run, ending Virginia’s comeback hopes. In an otherwise bleak night, freshman outside hitter Natalie Bausback found a silver lining, setting a new personal best hitting percentage of .429 and producing 12 kills on 28 total attacks with no errors.
The Cavaliers returned to action the following night against the Seminoles (10-2, 2-1 ACC) and showed immediate improvement in the opening game. Virginia upended their heavily-favored opponent 25-23 in the first game, but their upset bid fizzled as the Seminoles dominated the next three games 14-25, 17-25, 12-25 to win in four sets.
“It’s hard preparing to play teams like this, especially for the first-years since they’ve never played against teams like this,” said senior middle hitter Jessica O’Shoney, the team’s co-captain. “We talk about it and watch a lot of video, but that’s kind of the extent of on-the-court preparation.”
Virginia will play six straight games against ACC opponents as they look to improve on last season’s 4-16 conference record. The two losses against the ACC’s best teams this weekend will give the team’s young corps of hitters valuable experience as they look to find a winning formula against conference foes.
“I’m not disappointed in how they played,” coach Dennis Hohenshelt said. “I thought they played hard. We’re making progress; we’re better this weekend than we were last weekend for sure. If we keep making that progress, we’re gonna get some wins here.”
Virginia will travel to Chestnut Hill, Mass. to face Boston College Thursday.