Boston College volleyball had left its past three straight matchups in defeat and had gone 0–9 across its last nine sets. In the midst of an ongoing losing streak, the Eagles needed a clutch win on the road in Charlottesville.
With a 3–1 victory over Virginia (8–15, 1–12 Atlantic Coast), the Eagles (14–13, 4–9) did just that. The Cavaliers opened the match with a set win, but BC surged ahead in the second set and never looked back, claiming three straight for a win.
Virginia hit the ground running and opened up the first set on a 5–0 scoring run. Three of those five points came on BC errors at the net, handing the Cavaliers early momentum. Middle blocker Amaka Chukwujekwu gave BC the start it needed, tallying her first block of the match and getting the Eagles on the scoreboard.
The Eagles’ scoring runs in the first set were spotty, though, and the team failed to find its rhythm in the first set as its error count hit six. The Eagles never got close enough to take the lead, and the first set went to Virginia.
Coming out strong in the second set, it was a whole new BC team on the court. The Eagles did not let history repeat itself and prevented Virginia from getting an early scoring run. Fighting for every point, Sophia Lambros went on a three-point serving streak to tie the game at 6–6. The intensity on both sides of the net was evident, as each team would not give up more than a three-point lead throughout the frame.
Down three points midway through the second, BC needed a scoring run to prevent Virginia from running away with it. Outside hitter Clare Naughton asserted her presence at the net and was aggressive on the attack. With an assist from setter Grace Penn, Naughton sparked the scoring run the Eagles were searching for, tying the game at 16–16.
As the end of the second set neared, the two teams found themselves tied at 22–22. With all of the back-and-forth scoring and nerves the close game presented, errors crept in on both teams. BC outside hitter Alayna Crabtree found herself at the line and committed a service error, tying the game at 24–24. With the next two points deciding the set, the entire gym knew who the ball was going to. Naughton, who finished the night with 21 kills, ended the game with back-to-back kills.
After the intensity of the previous set, the Eagles approached the third set with control. Coming out strong on offense with kills from right-side hitter Izzy Clavenna and Naughton, the Eagles found themselves with an early 12–4 lead. The team seized this lead and ended the set 25–17, with all eyes on closing it out in the fourth set.
In similar fashion to the second set, the gameplay was back and forth as the teams battled for point after point. Crabtree propelled the Eagles forward when she was behind the service line and extended the lead to 13–10. The Eagles maintained their small lead briefly, but as the points passed by, the score read 21–20 in Virginia’s favor.
With attack errors by Chukwujekwu and Crabtree, the Eagles had their backs against the wall, and the Cavaliers had set point in their hands. With the threat of a fifth set looming, the Eagles fought for control of the game. Kills by Naughton and Chukwujekwu prevented the game from heading to a fifth set and kept the team alive.
Kill after kill, the game was tied at 25, then 26, and again at 28. Virginia was fighting for a fifth set, and the Eagles were fighting for their first win in four games. Ultimately, the Eagles’ fight was fruitful, and BC ended the game 30–28 with two consecutive kills by Chukwujekwu.
Featured Image by Nicole Vagra / Heights Staff