Virginia volleyball traveled to Notre Dame and Louisville over the weekend in search of a break of a three-game losing streak. The Cavaliers (8-10, 1-7 ACC) could not find the way back to their early season winning ways, however, losing in four sets to the Fighting Irish (10-6, 4-4 ACC) Friday and in three sets to the No. 6 Cardinals (16-2, 7-1 ACC) Sunday.
Game 1 — Virginia 1, Notre Dame 3
After opening the first set with a 6-2 Virginia run, Notre Dame responded with a five-point rally of their own to neutralize the score. From that point on the Cavaliers and Fighting Irish traded points back-and-forth, culminating in a 17-17 tie. Three successive Notre Dame kills from freshman outside hitter Ava Lange and two offensive errors from Virginia gave the Fighting Irish set point and ultimately resulted in a 25-22 Notre Dame win.
The second set was a highly successful offensive effort by the Cavaliers. Junior middle blocker Abby Tadder had six kills on only seven attempts and also contributed two blocks. Paired with three aces, one kill and one block from graduate student outside hitter Ciera Hecht, Virginia was able to take the set 25-23.
The Fighting Irish rebounded in the third set with a dominant 9-2 lead to begin the set. Four kills from Tadder contributed to only 10 total points scored by the Cavaliers. Notre Dame had two errors in an otherwise flawless set and put the Fighting Irish on top for a 25-10 takedown.
In the fourth and final set, Notre Dame continued to dominate and gave Virginia few opportunities to score. 16 errors from the Cavaliers did not help the situation. After a 19-9 Fighting Irish lead, Notre Dame had a 6-1 run to close out the set 25-10 and subsequently the match 3-1.
A notable change in the lineups for the match was the first start of the season for senior defensive specialist Madison Morey. Tadder topped the stat sheet in kills and blocks with 14 and five, respectively. Graduate student setter Regan Trueblood led the setters with 28 assists and junior libero Milan Gomillion tallied 14 digs.
Game 2 — Virginia 0, Louisville 3
Louisville jumped out to an early 8-2 lead in the first set and did not falter from that point on. Four blocks from Virginia was the highlight of the set for the defense in addition to nine kills from the offense. Even with holding the Cardinals to a .194 hitting percentage, the Cavaliers were no match for Louisville’s power in a 25-16 Cardinals first set.
The second set was lackluster for Virginia. A total of 11 errors hindered any chance of leading Louisville even with 12 kills from the Cavaliers. Three kills and a block from senior pin hitter Chloe Wilson was the highlight of the set. The Cardinals had multiple runs that enabled them to take the second set 25-16.
Virginia managed to stick with Louisville for the opening stages of the third set, trading points until a 6-5 Cavaliers lead, but the Cardinals subsequently went on a four-point run that put them in front for the rest of the set. Despite the best efforts of Virginia and freshman middle blocker Lily Gervase, who recorded four kills and a block, the Cavaliers fell 25-17 in the third and final set and sealed a 3-0 sweep for Louisville.
The offensive stats were fairly balanced among Virginia’s attackers. Gervase, Tadder, Wilson and graduate student middle blocker Veresia Yon all had five kills each. Seven different players contributed a block and three players tallied assists.
While the match was dominated by the Cardinals, it is important to note their No. 6 ranking. The Cavaliers were unable to win any sets but they did compete with a top-ranked team in both the conference and the country.
Overall, the Cavaliers struggled with late-game errors in both matches. In the final two sets of both the Friday and Sunday affairs, Virginia combined for 29 errors, while its opponents combined for just seven. In order to find their way back into the win column, the Cavaliers must reduce the amount of miscues in their play as the match goes on.
Virginia stays on the road next, heading to No. 8 Pittsburgh Wednesday. This challenging matchup is set for 7 p.m. and will be aired on ACC Network.