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Virginia volleyball drops two conference matches against Miami and Florida State

The losses bring the Cavaliers’ conference record to 2-12

<p>Le led all Cavaliers in assists against Florida State.</p>

Le led all Cavaliers in assists against Florida State.

After a historic victory against rival Virginia Tech, Virginia volleyball traveled down to Florida over the weekend to face off against ACC opponents Miami and Florida State. The Cavaliers (9-15, 2-12 ACC) lost the first match against the Hurricanes (16-8, 9-5 ACC) in four sets Friday and subsequently lost again to the Seminoles (18-8, 12-2 ACC) in four sets Sunday, struggling against two of the top teams in the conference. 

Game 1 — Virginia 1, Miami 3

The first set was a slow start for Virginia. After tying Miami 4-4, the Hurricanes led for the rest of the set. A six and seven-point run from Miami prevented the Cavaliers from capitalizing on any sideouts. There was no offensive spark from Virginia — the Cavaliers had a total six kills on a -.037 hitting percentage. The Hurricanes eventually captured the set 25-12. 

Virginia came into the second set with a lot of fire on offense. The Cavaliers traded points back and forth with Miami and produced a whopping 17 kills. Graduate student outsider hitter Ciera Hecht contributed five kills on only six attempts. Despite a late kill from graduate student middle blocker Veresia Yon, the Hurricanes were able to close out the second set 25-22. 

The third set consisted of much of the same offensive energy from Virginia. With neither team taking a strong lead, there was a true battle for the must-win set. After leading 20-17 the Cavaliers had a 5-2 run to finish out the set 25-20. Yon dominated the offense with a perfect six kills on six attempts and three blocks.

The fourth and final set was just as much of a battle as the third. After climbing to a 15-5 lead in the opening stages of the set, Virginia struggled to score and eventually tied Miami 20-20. The Hurricanes continued on to outscore the Cavaliers 5-3 and sealed the set and the match in favor of Miami.

Yon and Hecht led offensively for Virginia with 14 and 13 kills, respectively. Yon also led both the Cavaliers and the Hurricanes with seven blocks. Graduate student setter Regan Trueblood and junior setter Ashley Le each contributed 23 assists. 

Game 2 — Virginia 1, Florida State 3

Virginia opened up the first set with four rapid kills, two apiece from junior middle blocker Abby Tadder and freshman right side Lauryn Bowie. Florida State responded with a four-point run of their own and after a 5-5 tie it was a back-and-forth battle. The Cavaliers led at set point 24-23 but were unable to close the set and went into extra points. Finally after a 26-26 tie Virginia had two errors and handed the set to the Seminoles 28-26.

After a 4-3 lead, the Cavaliers trailed Florida State for the rest of the set. A .094 hitting percentage held Virginia back as they had no answers for the 14 kills from the Seminoles. The front row was also unable to produce any defense — the Cavaliers had no blocks in the set. Eight successive points from Florida State closed out a set to forget for Virginia 25-14.

A complete momentum shift in the early stages of the third brought new life to the Cavaliers. A six-point run put Virginia in excellent position to lead the set. A capitalization on sideouts kept the Cavaliers ahead and limited opportunities for the Seminoles. 15 kills from five Virginia players was the highlight of the set in addition to three double blocks from Tadder and Bowie. The Cavaliers kept their match hopes alive with a 25-12 set victory.

The fourth set was dominated by Florida State from start to finish. Virginia led 2-1 at the beginning of the set and failed to secure any scoring runs from that point on. Three different five-point runs kept the Seminoles out front. A -.034 hitting percentage sealed the deal for the Cavaliers as they handed the set and subsequently the match to Florida State 25-8.

Junior libero Milan Gomillion led both teams with 25 digs and Le also led all players with 27 assists. 

The Cavaliers were unable to produce any positive momentum from their second conference victory of the season against Virginia Tech Oct. 29. Although the step up in competition against the top half of the ACC was notable, Virginia could not muster any momentum offensively, particularly at the front line. If the Cavaliers want to find another conference win on the schedule, the play overall must improve.

Virginia is back in action Sunday for a match against ACC opponent Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish (10-12, 4-10 ACC) defeated the Cavaliers in October. First serve is at 1 p.m. and the game can be streamed on ACCNX.


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