The Virginia Tech volleyball team has high hopes as it enters this weekend’s home conference opener.
The Hokies will face Boston College on Friday night and Syracuse on Sunday. Both opponents are conference bottom-feeders ranking 13th and 15th respectively. Additionally, both teams own a conference record of 0-4.
Tech looks to right the wrongs of the loss to Pittsburgh last weekend. The loss to the Panthers tallies loss number four for the Hokies, who have now lost three of their last five contests.
Additionally, the loss to Pitt marks the second consecutive weekend that the Hokies have lost a match in three sets. Head coach Chris Riley and the team look to right the ship this weekend.
“For us to be better, we have to both play cleaner and pass better,” Riley said. “We uncharacteristically made a lot of mistakes in a row (against Pittsburgh) which we don’t normally do, and against better teams you can’t do that and expect to win.”
Despite the rough patch the Hokies have hit over the past couple of weeks, junior setter Jordan Fish insists that this is not habitual.
“The loss is over with, and going forward, we just need to take it one game at a time,” said Fish. “We can’t think about the loss, we just need to move on to the next game.”
Fish recorded 22 assists in the loss. She went on to contend that the team is improving in an area that it previously struggled with.
“We are improving very much in committing errors,” said Fish. “As a team, it continues to be our main focus and we’re getting better at it.”
Managing errors continues to be a work in progress for the Hokies, who committed 27 against Maryland, but just 16 against Pitt.
High-error performances were the downfall for the Hokies in their first three losses of the season, but senior middle blocker Victoria Hamsher suggests that the Pitt loss was a matter of effort.
“We need to show more of a sense of urgency early in the match,” said Hamsher. “We all know we want to win but you can’t really see it in our emotions.”
The team looks to ride the momentum of its five-set victory against Maryland on Saturday into this weekend.
The BC Eagles are the first matchup of the weekend. They’re coming off of a six game losing streak in which they were dominated by a combined margin of 18-4 in set-play. Additionally, the Eagles are hitting just .185 as a team, ranking them 186th nationally.
The following matchup, Syracuse, proves to be even less of a challenge. The Orange have just five wins on the season. They’ve struggled to get anything going offensively, averaging only 11.4 kills per set.
Though both opponents figure to be favorable matchups, the Hokies aren’t taking any team for granted.
“I wouldn’t call them lesser opponents,” said Riley. “They’ve played some of the best teams in the conference, so I think by no means does their record indicate their level of talent.”
The keys to victory are the same as usual for the Hokies.
“We need to just keep doing what we do well,” said Hamsher. “We need to get off to a fast start and if we win the first set, we can’t let them come back.”
Also the same for the Hokies is their offensive approach.
“We haven’t had a problem scoring all year,” said Riley. “Our offense has been the best part of our game and one loss doesn’t change our approach.”
The Hokies sit in the seventh position in the competitive ACC. Two wins this weekend could, with some help, springboard them into the top 5 in the conference and put them within striking distance of the top 25 nationally moving forward.