Volleyball sees mixed results in California
Cavaliers drop matches to Colorado State, Pepperdine, top UC Santa Barbara
The Virginia volleyball team competed in the Pepperdine Invitational in Malibu, Calif. this weekend, dropping a pair of 3-1 decisions to Colorado State and Pepperdine before posting a 3-2 comeback against UC Santa Barbara to close out the tournament.
Although the Cavaliers (4-2) only went 1-2 on the weekend, freshman Haley Kole had something of a coming-out party. She was named to the All-Tournament Team after tallying 49 kills, two solo blocks, and five block assists across the three games. Her 19 kills against UC Santa Barbara was a career-high, as were the three block assists she had against Colorado State. Kole earned ACC Freshman of the Week honors for her efforts.
In Virginia’s first match Friday against Colorado State (6-0), the Cavaliers took the opening set 25-18, but dropped the following three sets 17-25, 19-25, 19-25. Junior Mallory Woolridge played physically at the net and earned five block assists, tying the mark for the most by a Cavalier this season.
The team returned to action Saturday afternoon against host Pepperdine (4-2). The Waves took the match’s first two sets 21-25 and 22-25, but Virginia fought back to take the third set 25-23. Pepperdine ultimately prevailed, taking the fourth set 17-25 and the match 3-1.
To close out the weekend, the Cavaliers faced UC Santa Barbara (2-4) Saturday night. The match was a back-and-forth affair, as Virginia took the opening set 25-16, but the Gauchos took the next two 14-25 and 23-25 to move within a set of winning the match. The Cavaliers won the fourth frame 25-22 to force a deciding fifth set, which they took 15-12.
Kole and fellow freshman Jasmine Burton tied for the team lead with 19 kills each. However, junior Tori Janowski, the reigning ACC Player of the Week, was arguably the best player of the match. Her stellar stat line included 14 kills, 4 service aces, 14 digs, and 3 block assists.
The weekend brought some much-needed improvement in blocking, an area the team has focused on in practices. After recording just 15 blocks in the first weekend of the season, the Cavaliers tallied 28 blocks on their trip to California.
Virginia travels to Bowling Green, Ky. next weekend to play in the Western Kentucky Invitational. The team will face the hosting Hilltoppers on Friday, followed by UNLV and Ohio on Saturday.