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VOLLEYBALL: BC Returns From Roadtrip Winless Against Hokies And Cavaliers

For The Heights

Published: Monday, November 12, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

As other students braved the first signs of winter this weekend, the Boston College volleyball team headed south out of the cold for two road matches against Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia. The weekend started slowly for the Eagles with a straight set loss against the Hokies, and ended in a hard-fought five-setter from which the Cavaliers finally emerged victorious.

On Saturday, the Eagles made their way to Charlottesville to face the Virginia Cavaliers in Memorial Gymnasium. Earlier this season, BC had topped Virginia in a three-set win, but the Eagles knew better than to be complacent going to face their opponents on their home turf.

Virginia started the match out strong with a dominating 25-13 first set win. Although the Eagles kept it close to start, they lost the lead for good after being tied at 5-5, and long runs from UVA pushed BC back.

After a rough start to the match, the Eagles showed renewed effort in the second set. Once again, a close start to the set made way to long runs, this time in BC’s favor. Though the stats from the first set were unimpressive, three Eagles had four kills in the second: Melissa McTighe, Katty Workman, and Krystle Higgins. The strong second set performance was just what the Eagles needed to turn the match around and gain some momentum in their favor.

The next set also went to the Eagles, though it was not as resounding a victory as the previous two had been for either team. This time, the teams battled back and forth, going point for point with only the shortest runs, neither team allowing the other to get an edge. Eventually, after being tied at 18-18, the Eagles pulled ahead with the help of Workman’s eight kills, Kellie Barnum’s 15 assists, and Franny Hock’s 10 digs.

With the match on the line, UVA pushed back to save themselves in the fourth set, gaining the lead at 2-1 and never letting the Eagles push past them until the end of their 25-21 victory.

In the fifth set of any match, the teams play to only 15. This leaves little time to fight from behind or have any lapse in the offensive or defensive departments. UVA played with that in mind and leapt out to a 7-1 lead, and though BC pulled to within three at 12-9, the brevity of a fifth set was its downfall, as the Cavaliers closed the set and the match with their 15-10 win.

A large crowd awaited BC in the Cassell Coliseum Friday night as they took on Virginia Tech on its home court in Blacksburg, Va. After suffering a tough loss to the Hokies at home earlier in the season in Chestnut Hill, the Eagles hoped to turn around a losing streak with a road victory against a Hokie team that sits in the middle of the ACC standings. Despite a season-high 26 assists from Barnum, the Eagles were unable to fight past the tough Virginia Tech team.

The Hokies took an early lead with an explosive start to the first set, subduing the Eagle offense and challenging their defense as they took an 11-4 lead. Further difficulties on the BC side allowed Virginia Tech to expand their lead to 20-8. Despite three kills each from Kameron McLain and Courtney Castle, and a slight push in the final points of the set, the Eagles were unable to mount a comeback and lost the first set 25-15.

BC, after a tough first set, came out with stronger play in the second, putting pressure on the Hokies and keeping the set close. Despite timeouts and battles from both teams, back and forth scoring kept neither  team from pulling ahead until the 22-21 mark, when Virginia Tech was finally able to string a few points together, closing out the second set 25-21.

Two sets down, the Eagles found it hard to overcome the mental challenge that is a volleyball match, especially when working from behind. Although Virginia Tech started out strong, the Eagles were able to pull them to within 4 at 13-9, but from there the Hokies dominated the rest of the match, closing out the Eagles 3-0 with their decisive 25-13 third set victory.

Next weekend will find the Eagles on the road again as they take on two Florida teams, the University of Miami and Florida State, who are the top two teams in the ACC standings. Once again, the young Eagles team will be tested physically and mentally as they face some of their toughest opponents of the season.

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