Volleyball struggles against Boston College and Syracuse in road matches

The Cavaliers couldn’t pick up a win in their four-game road stretch as they fell to the Eagles and the Orange

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Freshman outside hitter Jayna Francis led the Cavaliers with 10 kills against Boston College. 

Courtesy Virginia Athletics

Virginia dropped straight sets to Boston College Friday in Chestnut Hill, Mass., and to Syracuse Sunday. The Cavaliers (9-10, 1-5 ACC) couldn’t generate momentum against either team as they conceded both matches 0-3.

Although Virginia failed to capture a single set against Boston College (14-5, 5-1 ACC), the match proved to be close from the start.

Both sides traded points to start the first set, but neither side was able to gain a significant advantage. After Boston College took the lead 15-14, Virginia went on a 3-0 run to gain a two-point advantage. The Eagles responded with two consecutive points to tie the score before the Cavaliers went on another 3-0 run. Virginia took the lead 21-18, but Boston College countered with four straight points to steal it back. The Eagles then won three of the final five points to take the first set 25-23.

Virginia played well opening the second set and took the lead early. The Cavaliers led 12-7, but the Eagles rallied and tied the match 16-16. The two sides battled down the stretch and forced the set into extra points. Virginia had a set point at 26-25, but Boston College capitalized on an error and won the final three points to win the set 28-26.

Boston College took control early in the third set and never looked back. The Eagles opened with a 6-2 advantage and never allowed the Cavaliers to get any closer than two points for the remainder of the set. Boston College won the set 25-21 after Virginia was able to string a few points together late in the match.

Freshman outside hitter Jayna Francis and freshman middle blocker Mattison Matthews led the Cavaliers with 10 kills each. Junior setter Megan Wilson recorded 22 assists, and junior libero Alex Spencer tallied nine digs.

The team then travelled to Syracuse, N.Y., to cap a four-game road stretch against the Orange (5-8, 2-4 ACC). 

The first set was close as Virginia and Syracuse exchanged points early on. Back-to-back kills by Matthews brought the score to 11-11. However, Syracuse managed to create separation in the scoreline with five straight points including two aces by senior outside hitter Kendra Lukacs. Virginia attempted to fight its way back, but following three straight errors and a kill by sophomore outside hitter Polina Shemanova, Syracuse stole the set 25-16. 

The second set followed a similar narrative as the Orange jumped out to an early 8-4 lead with key contributions from junior outside hitter Ella Saada, who had six kills in the set. However, two straight kills by sophomore middle blocker Milla Ciprian and an ace by sophomore libero Kristen Leland allowed Virginia to tie up the set at 11-11. Syracuse responded with three straight points as Shemanova and Saada dominated offensively, allowing the Orange to maintain their lead 19-15 late in the set. A combination of service and attack errors put the set out of reach for the Cavaliers and allowed Syracuse to win six straight points and the second set by a score of 25-15.

The Orange took control of the third and final set and were able to establish a 5-1 lead early on. Syracuse grew their lead over Virginia to 24-14, eventually winning the set 25-17. 

Shemanova dominated offensively for the Orange with eight kills and a service ace in the set. Freshman outside hitter Marina Markova was also key in the victory with four kills in the third set.

The Orange managed a hitting percentage of .296 and held Virginia to a hitting percentage of just .063.

Virginia will return home Friday to take on N.C. State before facing North Carolina Sunday at Memorial Gymnasium.

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