Volleyball goes 1-2 in Rutgers Invitational

The Cavaliers defeated Princeton in their first game, before losing to Towson and Rutgers

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Senior right side Jelena Novakovic had 10 or more kills in 10 matches last year.

Courtesy Virginia Athletics

The Virginia volleyball team competed in the Rutgers Invitational over the weekend and finished with a record of 1-2. The Cavaliers (3-3, 0-0 ACC) beat Princeton, before falling to Towson and Rutgers.

Princeton

Virginia began the tournament with a 25-23, 22-25, 25-21, 25-18 win over Princeton (0-3, 0-0 Ivy League) Friday afternoon at College Avenue Gym in New Brunswick, N.J.

Princeton came out of the gates fast and built an early 8-1 advantage in the first set. Virginia rallied and cut the deficit to 17-15, before going on a 4-0 run to take the lead for the first time in the set. The Tigers tied it at 19-19 and the two teams traded points down the stretch, but the Cavaliers pulled away at the end to take an early 1-0 lead in the match.

The second set played out very similarly to the first set. However, with the score tied at 16-16, Princeton went on a 6-1 run to take the lead and held off a late rally from Virginia to even the match at one apiece.

The third set was another back-and-forth affair between the two sides. Princeton led 20-18 late in the set, but Virginia rattled off six consecutive points to pull ahead and take a decisive 2-1 lead in the match.

Virginia was in control for almost the entirety of the fourth set and pulled off a comfortable win to seal the match.

Senior right side Jelena Novakovic led the team with 17 kills and freshman outside hitter Jayna Francis added 16 kills. Senior libero Kelsey Miller finished with a team-high 19 digs. The Cavaliers finished the match with a hitting percentage of .353, while limiting the Tigers to a .191 hitting percentage.

Towson

Virginia played Towson (5-1, 0-0 Colonial) in the second game of the tournament and fell by a score of 25-11, 25-15, 15-25, 25-20 Friday night.

The first set was close early on, with Towson maintaining a slim advantage. Virginia cut the deficit to 14-11, but Towson won the final 11 points of the set to take a 1-0 lead in the match.

In the second set, the Tigers once again closed the set on a big run to pull away from the Cavaliers. This time, Towson scored eight unanswered points after Virginia had cut the deficit to 15-14.

Virginia bounced back in the third set and opened up a 10-2 lead early on. The Cavaliers cruised for the remainder of the set to stay alive in the match down two sets to one.

The fourth set was tightly contested as the Cavaliers fought to avoid losing the match. Virginia took a 19-18 lead late in the set, but Towson scored seven of the final eight points in the set to seal the match victory.

Novakovic led the Cavaliers with 14 kills, and Miller led all players in the match with 16 digs. Towson finished with a hitting percentage of .295, while Virginia was limited to just a .122 hitting percentage.

Rutgers

Virginia fell in the final game of the tournament to Rutgers (3-3, 0-0 Big Ten) by a score of 24-26, 25-11, 25-16, 25-20 Saturday afternoon.

The Cavaliers took a tightly contested first set to open up the match. Rutgers tied it at 24-24 after Virginia had a set point, but the Cavaliers responded with two consecutive points to claim the early lead.

The Scarlet Knights dominated the second set after building a big early lead and cruised from that point on.

In the third set, Rutgers went on an 8-2 run early on to take the lead and never allowed Virginia to make any sort of comeback attempt.

The fourth set was more competitive, as Virginia overcame an early deficit to tie the score at 14-14. However, Rutgers claimed 11 of the next 17 points to take the set and the match.

Novakovic led the Cavaliers in kills for the third consecutive game, finishing with a total of 13. Rutgers finished with a .255 hitting percentage and held Virginia to a hitting percentage of .171.

Virginia returns to action Tuesday night against Liberty. The match is set for 6:30 p.m. in Memorial Gymnasium.

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