RICHMOND, Va. (Sept. 20, 2014) – Senior Ivey Rice (Johnson City, Tenn.) finished with 15 kills and 11 digs, but the ETSU volleyball team was unable to pick up another win against an ACC foe as Virginia rallied past the Bucs, 3-1 (25-23, 22-25, 15-25, 22-25), on Saturday at the VCU Invitational.
After knocking off Georgia Tech last Saturday in Nashville, the Blue and Gold looked prime for another win against an ACC contender after winning the opening set, but the Cavaliers rattled off three straight set wins to cap off the comeback victory.
Joining Rice with double-digit kills was Rylee Milhorn (Kingsport, Tenn.) as the freshman outside hitter tallied 10 kills, five digs and three blocks, while senior Meredith Hardy (Kingsport, Tenn.) and junior Khadijah Wiley (Columbus, Ga.) combined for a .400 attack percentage (15-3-30). Hardy totaled eight kills (.375 attack percentage) and three blocks, and Wiley added seven kills (.429 attack percentage) and three blocks as well.
The difference in the match was Virginia had 14 more attack attempts than the Blue and Gold (142-128) and the Cavaliers capitalized on those opportunities by finishing plus-15 in kills, 65-50.
Following the setback, ETSU suffered its fourth straight loss and dipped to 4-10, while Virginia improved to 7-4.
Both teams controlled different stages of the first set, but after falling behind 16-13, ETSU stepped up and rallied for a 25-23 win in the opener. The Bucs began the stanza strong as ETSU led 10-7 after Jamie Rutledge (Kingsport, Tenn.) found Rice for a kill, but the Cavaliers responded with a 9-3 run to go ahead by three. Fortunately, the Blue and Gold didn’t back down as ETSU received strong serving by Milhorn and Katie Muey (Alexandria, Ind.), and the Buccaneer duo ignited an 8-1 run to regain a 21-17 advantage. Virginia managed to inch within a point on two different possessions, but Kristen Favre (Plano, Texas) connected with Hardy for set point, giving the Blue and Gold a two-point win.
However, ETSU was unable to maintain the momentum as the Cavaliers led wire-to-wire in the second and held on for a 25-22 victory, while securing a 10-point win in the third (25-15) to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
The Bucs fought back in the fourth, but despite holding a five-point lead midway through and by one late in the frame, Virginia rallied for the set-clinching 25-22 win. ETSU led 15-10 when Kayla Sears committed one of the Cavaliers’ 10 service aces in the match, but the Blue and Gold were unable increase their advantage as Virginia mounted an 8-3 run to tie things up at 18. From there, ETSU went ahead 19-18, but the Cavaliers won seven of the final 10 points to finish the comeback.
Virginia had three players reach double figures in kills as Tori Janowski led all players with 20 kills and 13 digs. Lauren Fuller also added a double-double, finishing with 53 assists and 11 digs.
The Cavaliers out-hit ETSU, .345 to .234.
The Bucs return to action Tuesday night as ETSU hosts Furman in its home and Southern Conference opener. First serve is set for 7 p.m. inside Brooks Gym.
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