Volleyball crush Cavalier Classic competition
Rottman named tourney MVP
The Virginia volleyball team took the court at Memorial Gym this past weekend for the first time since the season started, hosting the Cavalier Classic. Virginia ousted Seton Hall 3-1 Friday and beat feisty visitors Columbia and William and Mary by that same score Saturday.
“I thought we sort of had a blue collar mentality,” Coach Dennis Hohenshelt said. “We worked a little bit at it. Some kids showed a little fortitude and grinded through some matches and came up with some big plays for us. I told the kids I’m happy with three wins, but we’ve got to be better now that we’re going into ACC play.”
In the first match, the Cavaliers (7-5) got off to a slow start, dropping the first set 25-19 to the Pirates (5-6). However, the team swept the next three sets 25-16, 25-21, 25-20 to claim the match. Freshmen Haley Kole and Jasmine Burton led Virginia’s offense, tallying 17 and 14 kills respectively, while junior Mallory Woolridge set a new season high with eight blocks.
“It was a grind this weekend,” Kole said. “That was our motto this whole week, just to grind [through it]. We had a lot of injuries this weekend. We definitely pushed through and worked hard to have each other’s backs.”
Virginia came out stronger against Columbia (2-7) as they eked out the first two sets 25-23 and 25-22. Though a 26-24 third frame defeat prevented a sweep, the Cavaliers prevailed in the fourth set 25-19 to win their second match of the weekend. Junior Tori Janowski led the team with 18 kills, and sophomore Lauren Fuller recorded a tournament-high 51 assists.
The final match of the weekend pitted Virginia against intra-state rival William & Mary (4-10). As they did against Seton Hall, the Cavaliers sputtered in the first set, committing six attacking errors and seven service errors in a first set which they dropped 26-24. But they turned their act around immediately when they retook the court, racing out to a 7-0 lead before holding on to take the set 25-22. Virginia polished off the weekend by winning the last two sets against the Tribe 25-18 and 25-21.
For Hohenshelt, the unblemished weekend provided a welcome indicator of his team’s mettle with the start of the ACC season looming this Friday.
“I think we’re probably a little ahead of where I thought we’d be right now, but we’ll come up with two or three things we need to get better at this week and we’ll try to get better at those things,” Hohenshelt said. “That’s sort of how we’ll tackle each week from now on. Now it gets fun. I want the kids to enjoy this ACC season.”
Emily Rottman’s 75 digs during the three matches earned the senior tournament MVP honors. During the contest with William & Mary, she moved into fourth all-time in career digs at Virginia with 1,442.
“I never thought I would be that high in the books,” Rottman said. “It feels good, but it comes from everyone setting up for me.”
Woolridge and Kole were selected to the All-Tournament Team.
The Cavaliers start their ACC schedule this weekend on the road against Duke and Wake Forest. Virginia will next return home Oct. 11 against Syracuse.