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Volleyball falls to Louisville and Notre Dame over the weekend

Despite winning the first set against both teams, Cavaliers could not hang on

<p>Sophomore outside hitter Alex Spencer had five kills in the first set against Louisville Friday.</p>

Sophomore outside hitter Alex Spencer had five kills in the first set against Louisville Friday.

After a road trip down to North Carolina, the Virginia volleyball team returned home to Memorial Gym to take on No. 21 Louisville Friday and Notre Dame Sunday. 

The Cavaliers could not have started their weekend slate better as they won the first set against Louisville (16-5, 9-1 ACC). The Cardinals had dropped a total of two sets in the four games prior to this matchup so Virginia certainly got off to an impressive start.

The first set was a close affair until Virginia used a dominant 9-1 run to take control. Led by sophomore outside hitter Sarah Billiard, the Cavaliers never looked back, taking the set with a score of 25-18.

Louisville, led by junior outside hitter Melanie McHenry’s five kills, responded perfectly with its own set win to level the game. The two teams traded the following two sets before heading to a deciding fifth set. 

After legitimately challenging the Cardinals for four sets, the Cavaliers fell apart in the final frame, falling 15-2. Virginia was held to an abysmal -.250 hitting efficiency and just one kill in the fifth set. 

Despite the tough loss, Virginia proved that it can hold its own against one of the best teams in the country. 

A few days later, Virginia was right back it, this time against Notre Dame (12-8, 6-4 ACC). 

The Cavaliers, similar to the Louisville game, won the first set, led by sophomore outside hitter Alex Spencer’s five kills including her back-to-back scores to finish the beginning frame.

Unfortunately, Virginia could not reproduce its first-set performance as it dropped the remaining three sets as the Fighting Irish left Memorial Gym with a victory.

Notre Dame’s efficient offense and suffocating defense proved too much for the Cavaliers as they failed to surpass the 20-point mark in any of the final three sets.

Billiard, with 10 kills, and Spencer,  with 10 kills and 16 digs, led Virginia in the losing effort.

Virginia will next take on Duke (11-8, 5-5 ACC) and Wake Forest (8-14, 3-7 ACC) on the road.