Volleyball picks up win against Clemson, falls to Georgia Tech

The Cavaliers beat the Tigers in straight sets, but failed to keep the momentum going against the Yellow Jackets


Freshman outside hitter Jayna Francis led all Cavaliers players with 21 kills on the weekend.

Courtesy Virginia Athletics

The Virginia volleyball team won one and lost one this weekend. The Cavaliers (11-16, 3-11 ACC) cruised past Clemson (10-14, 4-9 ACC) in straight sets but fell to Georgia Tech (17-8, 10-4 ACC) in straight sets.


Virginia started off the weekend on a high note by beating Clemson in straight sets Friday night at Memorial Gymnasium. The final score was 25-18, 25-19, 25-16 in favor of the Cavaliers.

It was one of the best performances of the season for the Cavaliers, as they limited the Tigers to a .040 hitting percentage while hitting .299 themselves. Virginia only trailed for two points in the entire match, when Clemson went up 1-0 and 2-1 early in the second set.

The Cavaliers were powered by a strong first set as they took an early advantage in the match after hitting .459 in the opening set. Despite the offense cooling off in the following two sets, the Cavaliers’ defense stepped up and held the Tigers to a negative hitting percentage in both the second and third sets.

Freshman outside hitter Jayna Francis led all players in the match with 11 kills and junior outside hitter Sarah Billiard tallied 10 kills. Senior setter Jennifer Wineholt led the Cavaliers with nine digs.

The straight-set victory marked six consecutive set victories for the Cavaliers after they also won the final three sets in a Nov. 3 3-1 victory over Wake Forest.

Georgia Tech

In their fourth-straight match at Memorial Gym Sunday afternoon, the Cavaliers looked to extend their winning streak as they faced off against Georgia Tech. 

The Yellow Jackets proved to be too much for the Cavaliers, however, picking up the win in straight sets. The final score was 25-14, 25-20, 25-23 with Georgia Tech picking up the dominant win on the road.

The opening set demonstrated Virginia’s early offensive struggles as the team managed a hitting percentage of just .105. The set was fairly lopsided from the start as Georgia Tech jumped out to a 7-4 lead early on.

Following an attack error by sophomore outside hitter Mikaila Dowd, the Yellow Jackets went on a run, managing five straight points to go up 12-5. Virginia was unable to quell Georgia Tech’s momentum as the Yellow Jackets’ grew their lead to 19-10.

Three straight kills by the Yellow Jackets allowed them to go up 22-11 with Dowd serving. In a set riddled with attack and service errors, Georgia Tech clinched the opening set 25-14 following a service error by Francis.

The second set was much more closely contested as Virginia improved its hitting percentage to .393.

The second set was even as the Yellow Jackets led just 10-8 at the halfway point of the set, with key contributions from senior right-side hitter Jelena Novakovic and Billiard. 

Georgia Tech managed to grow its lead as the set progressed, however, with sophomore outside hitter Mariana Brambilla leading the Yellow Jackets with five kills in the set. 

Leading 20-14, Georgia Tech managed to maintain its lead and claim the set 25-20 on a kill by sophomore setter Matti McKissock.

The third and final set appeared to be breaking in Virginia’s favor early on as the Cavaliers jumped out to a 9-6 lead early. Francis and Billiard dominated the scoreboard at this point in the set, combining for seven of the kills.

But the Yellow Jackets clawed their way back into it, tying the set at 14 points apiece. Georgia Tech managed to overtake Virginia a few points later to go up 18-15, partly due to three straight errors by the Cavaliers.

The set remained tight from there but the Cavaliers never managed to gain the lead, with the set breaking in favor of the Yellow Jackets, 25-23. 

Offensive leaders for the match included Billiard and Francis — they had 10 kills each — and Brambilla led Georgia Tech with 12 kills. 

The Cavaliers will travel to Winston-Salem, N.C. Friday as they look to get back on track against Wake Forest. 

related stories