CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -
The Virginia volleyball team lost control of a close battle with conference-foe Georgia Tech Friday night in Memorial Gymnasium, falling in four sets by scores of 25-19, 24-26, 23-25 and 17-23. The win marks the first Atlantic Coast Conference victory for the Yellow Jackets, who improve to 8-7 on the season and 1-3 in the league, while the loss drops the Cavaliers to 6-8 overall and 0-4 in conference play.
"We started the match playing well," head coach Lee Maes said. "But we don't have the maturity to maintain the momentum that we had in set one. It reflected in our focus, in our effort and in our execution. We ask our players to be one-percent better. One of the things that deteriorated as the match went on was our defensive ability to sustain discipline and compete for points. "
Sophomore Jess O'Shoney led the Cavaliers, hitting a career-high .750 on the evening to tie the fifth-best single match attack percentage in program history. The middle blocker knocked down 15 kills before committing an error and finished the evening with a career-high 19 kills on 24 swings with only one error.
Defensively, senior AJ Cushman picked up a career-high 17 digs, while freshman Emily Rottman contributed 12. At the net, junior Simone Asque and freshman Mallory Woolridge each had four blocks.
Redshirt sophomore Beth Wildermuth paced the offense, dishing out a personal-best 50 assists.
For Georgia Tech, Monique Mead led the way with a match-high 22 kills, while Mary Ashley Tippins earned a double-double of 46 assists and a team-high 15 digs.
Midway through the first set, Virginia strung together five points to pull ahead 20-14, forcing Georgia Tech to call a timeout. The Jackets rallied for three-consecutive points before the Cavaliers called a timeout of their own. Virginia responded from the break to score five of the next eight points and earn a 25-19 win.
The Cavaliers got out to a hot start in the second set, pulling ahead 7-2. Georgia Tech was able to work its way back into the game though, evening the score at 12 all, but a kill from Asque kept the Jackets from taking the lead. The Cavaliers were able to maintain their advantage for a while, but Tech eventually used a 5-1 run to knot the score at 18 and pull ahead 20-18. Virginia responded working the score to 24-21, but the Yellow Jackets fought off five set points to score five-straight and stole a 26-24 set win.
Despite being down 18-14 in the third set, the Cavaliers evened the score at 22 and then pulled ahead 23-22 behind an ace from Asque. The Yellow Jackets responded with a timeout and then scored three-straight points to take a 25-23 set win.
The Cavaliers fell behind 17-10 in the fourth frame and were unable to recover. Virginia worked to cut its deficit to five by 20-15, but it wouldn't be enough as Georgia Tech would go on to win, 25-17.
Virginia will return to action on Sunday, hosting Clemson at 1 p.m.