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Women’s volleyball swept by Louisville, Notre Dame in weekend series

<p>Sophomore Jelena Novakovic couldn't lead the Cavaliers to victory against Louisville and Notre Dame.</p>

Sophomore Jelena Novakovic couldn't lead the Cavaliers to victory against Louisville and Notre Dame.

Virginia (7-20, 3-13 ACC) was unable to find much success on a weekend ACC series, dropping both matches against Louisville (20-6, 14-2 ACC) and Notre Dame (19-8, 9-7 ACC). 

The Cavaliers began their away trip in Louisville, Ky. — looking to answer back for a 3-1 win by the Cardinals in October when they visited Charlottesville. Unfortunately for Virginia, the Cardinals were more than willing to show off their improvement as they came out strong in the first set, dominating the court, 25-9, with little resistance by Virginia. 

In the second set, the Cavaliers were able to find points earlier on, but Louisville still forged a substantial 8-2 lead. Despite Virginia putting together some offensive momentum and coming within reach of the Cardinals 15-8, Louisville was able to put away the set, allowing Virginia just five more points before coming up with another win. 

In the third set, sophomore outside hitter Jelena Novakovic was able to put Virginia on the board first, but the Cavaliers were unable to capitalize as Louisville surged ahead with a 13-4 lead. Virginia was able to gather themselves and come up with their first glimpse of offensive momentum of the match, cutting the Cardinal’s lead to just 19-13. Despite this, the Cavaliers were unable to sustain this offensive push, dropping the set and the match to Louisville, 25-19. 

Against the Cardinals, Virginia was only able to hit for .128 compared to Louisville's .478, and trailed the Cardinals in every key aspect of play. Hoping to recover from a tough loss, Virginia then traveled to Notre Dame where they were able to put up impressive numbers on offense but fell apart late in sets and were unable to come up with a win. 

In the first set, the Cavaliers found themselves on the wrong end of an 8-0 run, quickly trailing the Irish by seven points. While Virginia was able to answer back with an offensive push before calling a timeout with the score 13-8, it wasn't enough to rally the Cavalier defense, and the Irish took the first set 25-18. 

The Cavaliers looked to strike back in the second set. The score was back and forth and the game tied up at 6-6. After Notre Dame was able to leap ahead, the Cavaliers cut their lead to just one at 12-11. While the Irish attempted to find another big run, the Cavaliers were able to keep pace at the back end of the set, 23-22. However, Virginia was unable to stop two consecutive points by the Irish, and ultimately fell, 25-22. 

Unable to rekindle their reactive and impactful defense, Virginia was trailing big at the start of the third set. Down 15-5, Virginia came up with a 5-1 run to cut the score to 16-10, but was unable to make any stops on defense, and the Irish came out on top with a 25-17 win. 

Virginia will be back in action Friday as they face off against Miami in Memorial Gymnasium at 7 p.m.