Volleyball v. Wake Forest

Cera Powell and Virginia Tech vs. Wake Forest, Nov. 2, 2022, Blacksburg, Virginia.

Virginia Tech lost its second volleyball match of the weekend to Wake Forest. The Hokies started strong but were unable to keep momentum and fell in four sets.

Having bested the Demon Deacons in Blacksburg on Nov. 2, coach Marci Byers and crew were hopeful headed into the match. It was their first win in more than a calendar month, and it gave the Hokies enough momentum to win their next match too.

They made the trip to Winston-Salem Sunday after playing in Charlottesville on Friday, where they fell to the Cavaliers in three sets.

The Hokies played well in set one against the Demon Deacons. They took an early 10–3 lead by earning six straight points. Wake Forest refused to let them extend their lead much further; however, Virginia Tech played well enough to win the set 25–18.

In the second set, the Hokies fell behind early. While they managed to stay within several points of the Demon Deacons, they fell 25–19 after they let Wake Forest go on a 7–3 run to close the set.

The third set was the most competitive one of the match. After falling down three, the Hokies battled the Demon Deacons and tied the match at 12. The two teams traded points before Wake Forest was able to nose ahead and win the set 25–21. With its back against the wall, Virginia Tech wasn’t able to climb out of the hole it put itself in via the second and third sets.

In the fourth set, Wake Forest scored eight points before the Hokies could record their first. Virginia Tech put together an impressive string of points, but never quite caught its opponent, and the Demon Deacons defeated the Hokies with a 25–22 set win.

The determining factor in Virginia Tech’s success was once again errors. In the first set, the Hokies recorded one single attacking error. They forced seven out of their opponent and hit an incredible .478. From then on, they weren’t so good.

Between the second and third sets, Virginia Tech recorded 16 attacking errors, exactly doubling Wake Forest’s total across that same span. Its hitting percentage for the second set was .133–345 points lower than the first.

The Hokies started the fourth set hitting -0.250 but were able to move into the positive range by the end of the set. They finished the match hitting .161.

While the large error totals from Virginia Tech are a result of poor team play all around, some of their best players — Cera Powell and Ava Francis — lead the team with large individual error totals. This isn’t an indictment of either player, as they were top three in kills and top five in points Sunday; Powell led both categories. Instead, it proves that losing is a team effort — one that occurs when errors are plentiful.

Cara Lewis, on the other hand, played outstandingly well. She recorded 10.5 points from seven kills and six total blocks. Her hitting percentage of .500 and error-free afternoon were exemplary but weren’t enough to earn the Hokies a win.

While Virginia Tech’s loss is a tough pill to swallow, their 16–11 run at the end of the fourth set proves that they’ve still got a bit of fight left in them.

The Hokies will next travel to Massachusetts to play Boston College on Saturday, Nov. 19 at 2 p.m.

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