Volleyball splits weekend games on the road

Cavaliers sweep Wake Forest to end weekend on a positive note


Duke's defense held Virginia sophomore outside hitter Sarah Billiard to just nine kills this past weekend.

Courtesy Virginia Athletics

The Virginia volleyball team began a four-game road trip this past weekend with matchups against Duke and Wake Forest — losing to the former but defeating the latter.

Virginia (7-15, 3-9 ACC) started off the weekend with a game against Duke (13-8, 7-5 ACC), which had won four of its previous five games. 

While the Cavaliers gave a valiant effort, the Blue Devils’ suffocating defense never gave Virginia a chance. Duke held Virginia to a season-low .039 hitting percentage and sophomore outside hitter Sarah Billiard to just nine kills — only the third time all season Billiard finished with under 10.

The Cavaliers could only surpass the 20-point mark once, as Duke swept them aside for its third straight win — 25-14, 25-21, 25-16.

On the attacking side, Duke was led by sophomore outside hitter Payton Schwantz, who had 12 kills. Defensively, Duke freshman middle blocker Lily Cooper and Duke junior outside hitter Samantha Amos each contributed five blocks.

Despite the tough loss, Virginia rebounded well, defeating Wake Forest (8-16, 3-9 ACC) just a few days later with a sweep of its own.

The Cavaliers’ defense controlled the entire game with a total of 13 rejections — second-most in a three-set match in Virginia history. In addition, Wake Forest’s abysmal hitting efficiency of .098 and Virginia committing only 11 errors all helped the Cavaliers gain a much-needed victory. 

Interestingly, however, Virginia’s usual leaders — Billiard, junior right-side hitter Jelena Novakovic and freshman outside hitter Grace Turner — were not the ones who fueled the Cavaliers’ win. Redshirt junior middle blocker Kat Young poured in eight kills and three digs, while sophomore outside hitter Christine Jarman produced another seven kills.

While Young and Jarman stepped up exactly when they needed to, Virginia’s best performer was freshman middle blocker Milla Ciprian, whose 10 blocks and seven kills were key in driving Virginia to a dominant 25-21, 25-22, 25-21 victory.

Virginia will next travel south to Clemson (13-12, 4-8 ACC) and Georgia Tech (15-10, 4-8 ACC) as the road trip continues.

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