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Virginia volleyball drops a pair of conference matchups in its weekend road trip

The Cavaliers are still searching for their first ACC win five games into conference play

<p>Virginia showed promise in the first set against Georgia Tech, but the No. 10 ranked Yellow Jackets were simply too talented, especially at home.</p>

Virginia showed promise in the first set against Georgia Tech, but the No. 10 ranked Yellow Jackets were simply too talented, especially at home.

Virginia volleyball traveled to Atlanta and Clemson, S.C., over the weekend for a pair of matches against ACC foes No. 10 Georgia Tech and Clemson, respectively. The Cavaliers (8-9, 0-6 ACC) were unable to pick up a win on their southern trip, extending their losing streak to seven games.

The action began Friday evening with a bout against the highly ranked Yellow Jackets (11-4, 4-2 ACC), who came into the matchup looking to bounce back from a loss of their own.

Virginia more than held their own in the first set, keeping Georgia Tech within reach throughout and even taking the Yellow Jackets to set point at 24-23 and 25-24. The Cavaliers were unable to finish the job, however, allowing Georgia Tech to close out the set with three consecutive points to earn the 27-25 win.

Virginia matched the Yellowjackets with 14 kills in the opening set, but ultimately their nine errors were too much to overcome, especially against a quality opponent.

Georgia Tech was much more dominant in the second set, posting a blistering 0.545 hitting percentage and besting the Cavaliers in kills 14-7. The Yellow Jackets never looked back after jumping out to a 16-5 lead, ultimately winning the set 25-11.

Virginia quickly regrouped and once again played well in the third set, holding a lead of as many as five points over the Yellow Jackets. With a 20-18 lead late in the frame, however, the Cavaliers cooled off, allowing Georgia Tech to go on a match-sealing 7-1 run to pull out a 25-21 set victory.

For Virginia, graduate outside hitter Grace Turner once again carried the load offensively, posting a team high 10 kills while graduate setter Gabby Easton was a spark from behind the service line with a season-high four aces.

On the Yellow Jackets’ side, they claimed their ninth sweep of the season and sixth straight victory over the Cavaliers.

Virginia hit the court again Sunday afternoon for a match with the Tigers (11-7, 2-4 ACC) on Clemson’s home court.

In an incredibly tight first set which saw 15 ties and four lead changes, the Cavaliers scored four of the final five points to jump ahead in the match with a 25-22 win.

Both teams were efficient in the opening set, each posting hitting percentages north of 0.320. Clemson narrowly bested Virginia in kills 15-14, but the Cavaliers’ clutch play down the stretch earned them the early advantage.

That would prove to be the highlight of the match for Virginia, however, as the momentum dramatically swung in favor of the Tigers as the second set began. Clemson jumped out to a 6-1 lead — which they never relinquished — as they cruised to a 25-19 win to even the match.

Again, the Tigers were hot out of the gates in the third set, quickly mounting a 9-4 lead. Clemson used multiple other extended scoring runs to dominate the set on their way to a 25-14 win.

The Cavaliers were unable to stop the bleeding in the fourth set as they once again came out of the gates slow. Down to their last point trailing 24-20 late in the set, Virginia made a last-ditch effort to extend the match as they posted three consecutive points to cut their deficit to one. The Tigers finally slammed the door shut with a kill, clinching a 3-1 victory in the match and sealing the Cavaliers’ seventh-consecutive defeat.

New faces performed well offensively for Virginia. Sophomore and graduate student middle blockers Abby Tadder and Veresia Yon lead the team with 10 and nine kills, respectively, but ultimately Clemson was just too strong for the Cavaliers to pull off the road victory.

Virginia returns to Memorial Gymnasium next weekend for the beginning of a four-game homestand with matches against Florida State Friday and Miami Sunday. Both matches will be available to stream through ACC Network Extra.