Volleyball downed by Wake Forest and Clemson in road trip

The Cavaliers played close sets, but were unable to pull out victories against the Demon Deacons and Tigers

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Junior outside hitter Sarah Billiard had a strong weekend, with 19 kills across two matches.

Courtesy Virginia Athletics

The Virginia volleyball team dropped two hard-fought conference games on the road this weekend. The Cavaliers (11-18, 3-13 ACC) battled hard but fell short against Wake Forest (12-15, 2-14 ACC) and Clemson (11-16, 5-11 ACC).

Wake Forest

Virginia lost against Wake Forest 3-1 Friday night at Reynolds Gymnasium in Winston-Salem, N.C.

It was a tightly-contested match, as three of the four sets were decided by just two points. The match marked the second time the teams had played in 12 days, after Virginia took the first meeting at home by an identical 3-1 scoreline Nov. 3.

The Demon Deacons took the first set by a score of 25-23 after winning the final two points of the set. The Cavaliers returned the favor in the second set by winning the final three points of the set in extra points to win 27-25. Wake Forest comfortably won the third set 25-20, and closed the match out by taking a 25-23 victory in a close fourth set.

Wake Forest outhit Virginia, recording a .216 hitting percentage compared to the Cavaliers’ .186 hitting percentage.

Senior right side hitter Jelena Novakovic led the Cavaliers with 12 kills, while junior outside hitter Sarah Billiard and sophomore middle blocker Milla Ciprian each tallied 11 kills. Junior libero Alex Spencer led all players in the match with 19 digs.

Clemson

The Cavaliers looked to snap their two-game skid Sunday as they travelled to take on Clemson. Virginia previously defeated the Tigers earlier in the season Nov. 8, knocking off the Tigers in straight sets

Clemson flipped the narrative this time around. The Tigers came out strong in the opening set, establishing a 10-4 lead early.

Attack errors plagued the Cavaliers early, but the team managed to narrow the scoreline to 17-13 following a service ace by Spencer. Back-to-back kills by junior outside hitter Christine Jamran further narrowed the deficit to 19-16.

However, this was the closest Virginia was able to get in the set as four late kills by Clemson junior outside hitter Kaylin Korte allowed the Tigers to clinch the set 25-18. 

The second set was back-and-forth early on, with the Cavaliers starting out with a slim 6-4 lead. A three-point run led to Clemson retaking the lead 7-6, with two of the points being attack errors by Virginia.

The set remained close through the midway point, with the teams remaining deadlocked at 13 apiece. But as the set progressed, the Tigers created separation and built up a slim three-point lead.

Clemson maintained the lead and went on to win the set 25-20. 

The third and final set was the most lopsided one of the evening, with the Tigers jumping to a 12-6 lead. Virginia appeared to never find their footing in the set despite contributions by Billiard and Novakovic.

Clemson sophomore right side hitter Solei Thomas and sophomore outside sitter Ashtynne Alberts led the Tigers in the set with a combined six kills. The final score was 25-16. 

The Cavaliers’ main struggles came defensively as the Tigers managed an average .337 hitting percentage over the three sets. Jarman and Billiard led Virginia with eight kills each with Korte leading Clemson with 12.

Virginia will take on  Boston College Friday for the Cavaliers’ senior night game at Memorial Gymnasium. After the Boston College game, the Cavaliers will have just one more regular season game against Virginia Tech Nov. 27.

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