Sports, Fall, Volleyball

Clavenna Helps Eagles Win Back-and-Forth Match Against Virginia Tech

Senior captain Izzy Clavenna recorded 14 kills and a .419 hit percentage, leading to an intense, five-set win over Virginia Tech Saturday.

Boston College volleyball (19–12, 7–10 Atlantic Coast) honored graduate student Kate Brennan, senior Silvia Ianeselli, and Clavenna prior to its match against Virginia Tech (11–17, 4–13) in the Eagles’ final home game of the year. 

The set scores were 25–15, 19–25, 25–14, 26–28, and 15–9.

“I think they’ve been kind of the backbone,” head coach Jason Kennedy said. “I think especially later in this year we’ve relied on all three of them quite a bit.”

Entering Saturday’s game, Clavenna led BC in kills this season with 244, Brennan led the team in hit percentage with .424, and Ianeselli had recorded double-digit kills in four of her last five games. 

“Kate’s come in [and] had an immediate impact right off the bat, starting in every match for us,” Kennedy said. “Izzy has started and played in every match for us, and Silvia has come on strong late. We wouldn’t have the success we have at the end of the year here without her coming into a role where we never take her off the floor.”

The last time the Eagles and the Hokies played, the Hokies swept the Eagles 3–0

But on Saturday, BC got off to a strong start in the first set. The Hokies had trouble returning Sophia Lambros’ serves, and she recorded back-to-back aces, helping propel the Eagles to a 9–2 lead before Virginia Tech called its first timeout. 

The Eagles sealed the first-set win after an ace from Anna Murphy. 

After a back-and-forth exchange, Ianeselli ended the second-set rally with a strong kill to put the Eagles up 10–7. The Hokies then went on a 7–1 run to go up 14–11 before Clavenna ended it with a kill. 

But the Hokies refused to give in and took the second set 25–19.

Two powerful kills from Brennan helped the Eagles take a commanding 10–5 lead in the third set, forcing a Hokies timeout. A block from Jenna Pollock extended BC’s lead to 17–8 and forced Virginia Tech to call yet another timeout, and a service error from the Hokies gave the Eagles a win in the third set.

With the Hokies leading 13–7 in the fourth set, Clavenna shifted the momentum with a major kill to cut the lead to five, and the Eagles rallied around it. Two more Clavenna kills cut the Hokies’ lead to two.

Virginia Tech fought back for a 22–14 lead, but the Eagles came all the way back to tie the set at 24 apiece. 

Clavenna sent a rocket off of the head of Virginia Tech’s Sierra Cates to tie the set at 26, but the Hokies squeaked out the fourth-set win.

“They could have folded when it was 20–12 or whatever it was, and instead they came back—they fought all the way back,” Kennedy said. “If we don’t make that run, it’s heartbreaking to lose a set like that, but if you don’t make that run, they have all the momentum going into the fifth.”

The intensity of the fourth set carried over into the fifth, and BC kept its foot on the gas to solidify a victory with a kill from Brennan. 

Brennan finished the match with 12 kills and a .688 hit percentage.

“We had to serve tough,” Kennedy said. “It took us a little bit to find our rhythm in the second set. … We came out with our hair on fire, and eventually, I think we settled into the fifth set. I think our serving is really what won us that set.”

November 20, 2022