Volleyball goes 2-1 at Bobcat Invitational

The Cavaliers defeat Connecticut and College of Charleston but drop the final match to Ohio

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Senior libero Kelsey Miller recorded double-digit digs in every game this weekend.

Courtesy Virginia Athletics

The Virginia volleyball team participated in the Bobcat Invitational at the Convocation Center in Athens, Ohio, over the weekend and finished the tournament with a record of 2-1. The Cavaliers (5-5, 0-0 ACC) beat Connecticut and College of Charleston Friday, but fell to Ohio Saturday.

Game 1: Connecticut 

Virginia began the tournament with a straight-set victory over Connecticut (3-6, 0-0 AAC) Friday morning by a score of 25-20, 28-26, 25-18.

The first set was tightly contested, as both teams traded points until it was 9-9. At that point, the Cavaliers went on a 6-2 run to open up a 15-11 lead. The Huskies responded by winning five of the next six points to tie the set at 16-16. Virginia answered with a 5-1 run of its own and hung on to claim the opening set.

Connecticut played well at the beginning of the second set and built up a 14-6 lead. However, Virginia got hot and went on a 14-3 run to take a 20-17 lead. Both teams battled down the stretch, and the set went to extra points. It was a tense finish, but Virginia came out on top by winning the set 28-26.

The Huskies got off to a strong start again and led 12-6 early on in the third set. The Cavaliers stormed back and won 14 of the next 17 points to take a 20-15 lead, and they eventually took the set by a score of 25-18, winning the match 3-0.

Junior outside hitter Sarah Billiard and freshman middle blocker Mattison Matthews led the Cavaliers with nine kills each, and senior libero Kelsey Miller posted a team-high 12 digs.

Game 2: College of Charleston 

Fresh off a morning victory, Virginia defeated College of Charleston (1-7, 0-0 CAA) in four sets Friday night by a score of 25-9, 12-25, 25-14, 25-21.

The Cavaliers dominated the first set, as they raced out to an 11-1 lead and never looked back. Virginia ended up winning the set 25-9, recording a hitting percentage of .440 for the set.

Charleston returned the favor in the second set, as the team ended up winning 25-12. The Cougars jumped out to a 12-3 lead and cruised from that point on in the set.

The third set was more competitive, as neither team gained a significant advantage early on. With the score 11-10 in favor of Charleston, Virginia took off and went on a 6-0 run to take a five-point lead. The Cavaliers then won 9 of the next 12 points to win the third set 25-14.

The fourth set was back-and-forth at the start, with Charleston gaining a 13-10 lead. The Cavaliers fell behind 17-14, but went on a 6-1 run to take a two-point lead. The Cougars tied it at 20-20, but the Cavaliers closed the set and the match by winning five of the last six points.

Senior right side hitter Jelena Novakovic had a solid all-around performance, leading the Cavaliers with 12 kills and 7 aces. 

The Cavaliers stifled the Cougars, limiting them to a .039 hitting percentage on the night.

Game 3: Ohio 

Virginia concluded the tournament by falling to Ohio (6-4, 0-0 MAC) in straight sets Saturday afternoon by a score of 25-21, 25-18, 25-22.

The Cavaliers played well to open the first set, as they raced out to a 15-9 lead. The Bobcats rebounded and went on a 9-1 run to take an 18-16 lead. Virginia tied it at 19-19, but Ohio scored six of the final eight points to take the first set 25-21.

Ohio opened the second set with three consecutive points and never looked back as it comfortably won 25-18.

The Bobcats got off to another fast start in the third set and led 11-6 early on. Virginia rallied and tied the match at 21-21, but Ohio closed the set on a 4-1 run to win the match in straight sets.

Billiard, freshman outside hitter Jayna Francis and Novakovic led the Cavaliers with eight kills apiece, while Francis and Miller each tallied double-digit digs.

Virginia returns to action next weekend when it hosts the Jefferson Cup at Memorial Gymnasium. Virginia will face Lehigh Friday night, before playing Elon and UNC-Greensboro Saturday.

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