Volleyball falls twice at home over the weekend

Cavaliers still looking for first ACC win

sarah-billard

Sophomore outside hitter Sarah Billiard led Virginia's offense in the team's games against Florida State and Miami this past weekend.

Courtesy Virginia Athletics

The Virginia volleyball team kicked off a four-game homestand this past weekend against conference powers Florida State and Miami. The Cavaliers could only take one set across both games, however, as they remain on the hunt for their inaugural ACC victory this season.

Going into the weekend, the Cavaliers (4-10, 0-4 ACC) were coming off back-to-back losses to ACC favorite No.8 Pitt (14-0, 3-0 ACC) and in-state rival Virginia Tech (11-4, 2-1 ACC) to begin conference play.

Those struggles continued as Florida State (7-6, 3-0 ACC) downed Virginia in straight sets on Friday in front of a packed crowd in Memorial Gymnasium. While Virginia certainly challenged the visiting team, both on offense and defense, it ultimately fell short in each set.

In the first set, after some back-and-forth play, Florida State went on an 11-3 run that pushed the lead to eight. The Cavaliers mounted a short come-back to cut the lead to four but ultimately fell, 25-19.

The second and third sets were closer affairs and the Cavaliers had spurts — like a 7-1 run in the second set to tie the match at 20-20 — that kept the crowd buzzing. Despite Virginia’s efforts, the Seminoles — led by junior outside hitter Payton Caffrey’s 14 kills — were playing at a high level and refused to drop a single set.

Against Florida State, Virginia was led by sophomore outside hitter Sarah Billiard and junior right side hitter Jelena Novakovic with 14 and 10 kills, respectively.

After four consecutive 3-0 defeats, the Cavaliers won their first set since early September against Miami (7-4, 3-1 ACC). After Virginia dropped the first set, it stormed back to win the second, 25-21. Miami used early advantages in the final two sets, however, to close the game.

Once again, Billiard led Virginia’s attack with yet another 14-kill performance. On the defensive side, freshman outside hitter Grace Turner recorded a career-high 14 digs, while freshman middle back Milla Ciprian contributed eight blocks.

Virginia will next take on Boston College (12-3, 2-1 ACC) and Syracuse (7-4, 3-0 ACC) this weekend to close out its homestand.

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