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VOLLEYBALL: BC Spiked By Virginia Tech At Home

For The Heights

Published: Monday, October 1, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

volleyball

Graham Beck / Heights Editor

A Sunday matinee against Virginia Tech rounded out Parents’ Weekend for the Boston College volleyball team. The Hokies, who entered the match ranked sixth in the ACC and just in front of the Eagles, brought their impressive size and offensive skill to Power Gym for BC’s second ACC matchup of the weekend. Although the Eagles fought hard, Virginia Tech proved too much for them, as BC came away with a disappointing 3-0 loss.

It was a slow start for BC in its second match of the weekend. The considerable size of the Hokies was an asset, as they jumped out to a 10-5 lead to open the match. The play was quickly paced, with both teams putting in scrappy hustle plays, but Virginia Tech capitalized more on offense. Hounded by errors, BC failed to find its rhythm in the opening half of the set, costing them dearly. A timeout at 10-5 did little to slow the powerful play of the Hokies. An 8-3 run that led up to a 15-8 Virginia Tech lead caused head coach Chris Campbell to use BC’s second timeout of the set. After a few quick words, the Eagles came out swinging, putting up five straight points and narrowing the Hokie lead to only two.

Yet a powerful service and offensive effort from the Hokies was too much for BC in that first set, and they were able to jump back ahead, taking eight of the final 10 points of the set to come away with the 25-18 win.

The Eagles surged back in the second set, stabilizing themselves and maintaining cleaner play in order to hang with the Hokies. BC came out strong to jump out to a 5-1 lead that it was able to hold narrowly through the beginning of the set. Campbell was glad to see his team hanging with the Hokies, but noted that they were never quite able to stretch their lead.

“When they make one of their conservative shots, we play well enough to keep the ball alive but not well enough to really return that with a lot of heat and put some pressure on them,” Campbell said. “That’s a lost opportunity for some extra points.”

The Hokie offense engaged toward the middle of the set, taking away the Eagles’ narrow lead at 12-11. The quick tempo from the first set remained, but BC was able to stay with it, and the defecit remained within reach until deep in the set when a final offensive push from the Eagles sprung BC out ahead. The effort, however, was quickly reversed when Virginia Tech went on a 5-0 run and held its lead to a set victory of 25-22 over the Eagles.

After a 10-minute break, BC took the court for the third and final set looking a bit shaken by the up-and-down ride from the first two sets. The play returned to the scrappy style of the first set as Virginia Tech used alternative offensive options such as tipping and dumping the ball into the back court to avoid an Eagle defense that was able to read their main offensive options. Campbell, in his preparation for the game, saw that these secondary options could be an issue.

“We practiced against that … there’s always that reactionary gap between practicing and actually playing it live,” he said. “But I was pleased with what we did against their primary options. We just have to learn, as a young team, how to deal with the secondary.”

Toward the middle of the set, the Hokies started to use their size to their advantage and controlled the Eagle offense with a strong blocking presence at the net, and were able to maintain a lead until set point at 24-18. Although BC put in one final push with reliable serving from sophomore setter Kellie Barnum, the attempt was too little, too late, and a strong angled shot from one of the Hokies’ outside hitters ended the set and the match, 25-22 for the 3-0 win.

While it was an upsetting loss for the Eagles, Campbell maintained there was something that he wanted his players to take away from it.

“Their success is within their control,” he said. “There are chances and opportunities that we could take advantage of that don’t really require more skill. We don’t have to jump six inches higher. Our improvement can come from the mental side.”

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