Nov. 3, 2017
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia volleyball team (6-18, 2-11 ACC) defeated Clemson (7-18, 2-11 ACC) in straight sets, 3-0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-19) on Friday night in Memorial Gymnasium.
“We have won two of our last three matches so I am pretty happy about that,” head coach Aaron Smith said. “We have played so well during the first half of ACC play but have just shot ourselves in the foot. We were able to get over mistakes tonight and limited Clemson to short runs so I’m really happy about that. It was a steady all-around game.”
Virginia had a .284 hitting percentage in the match, with two of the three sets over. 300. The Cavaliers held Clemson to a .112 hitting percentage with nine blocks on the night. UVA also led in aces (3-1) and digs (39-29).
Freshman Sarah Billiard (Matthews, N.C.) led Virginia with 11 kills and added a career-high five blocks. Sophomore Jelena Novakovic (Belgrade, Serbia) and freshman Alex Spencer (North Canton, Ohio) each had seven kills, while redshirt sophomore Kat Young (Chantilly, Va.) had six kills. Kaylin Korte led Clemson with 13 kills.
A block by Novakovic and Young opened the match as UVA scored the first three points and quickly jumped out to an 8-2 lead. The Cavaliers scored back-to-back points to lead 11-4 as Clemson called timeout. Virginia took its largest lead of the set, 17-8, with another 3-0 run on kills by Novakovic and Young and an ace for sophomore Jane Horner (Mission Viejo, Calif.). UVA controlled the set and closed it out with a kill by junior Harley Sebastian (Atlanta, Ga.) and a solo block by Billiard to win 25-17.
Virginia was up 2-1 in the second, but a 5-1 run gave Clemson the 6-3 lead. UVA came back with four-straight points, three on kills by Novakovic, to take a 7-6 advantage. The teams saw two ties before the Cavaliers mounted a 4-0 run capped off by a block from Anukwuem and Sebastian. Clemson scored after its timeout, but UVA extended its lead to 17-9 with a 5-0 run. The Tigers scored three-straight to cut it to 20-14, but Virginia stayed in front and took the set on a kill by senior Haley Fauntleroy (Winnetka, Ill.) to win 25-17.
The Cavaliers were down 6-4 in the third set when they had a 3-0 run to take a 7-6 advantage. Clemson went back in front twice, but Virginia countered each time and took an 11-10 lead after a kill and solo block for Billiard and an ace by freshman Megan Wilson (Brookeville, Md.). With the set tied 14-14, Virginia rallied for six-straight points on four kills and two blocks. Clemson cut the lead to three twice, but back-to-back points gave UVA a 22-17 lead as the Tigers called timeout. UVA closed out the set with three of the last four points and solidified the win on a kill by Young.
“We have become a lot more consistent on the defensive side of the ball and a lot more consistent with our serve/receive and offensively we worked on our timing and tempo,” Smith said. “I think it all showed tonight and it certainly gives us momentum going into tomorrow night against Georgia Tech.”
Virginia will be back in action tomorrow when it hosts Georgia Tech at 7 p.m. in Memorial Gymnasium. The match will be streamed live on ACC Network Extra and fans with Virginia football tickets from tomorrow’s game against Georgia Tech will receive free admission.
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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