The Virginia Tech volleyball team has a lot to prove in their match tonight against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
After a 3-1 loss on Wednesday evening against the Virginia Cavaliers, the Hokies are ready to show everyone that they haven’t let up.
“For Friday, this is now a pride issue, because we haven’t lost to UVa in a long time,” junior right side Kathryn Caine said. “We are going to play with a chip on our shoulder and we have to take care of business if we want to continue to improve and overlook what just happened.”
The Hokies will have to be at the top of their defensive game, as Notre Dame has some of the biggest hitters that Tech will go up against this season.
“They’re big and physical,” said head coach Chris Riley. “If we can’t pass it’s going to be hard. We are going to try to be more disciplined in serve receive so we can do a better job.”
Though Notre Dame has height on their side, Riley said that where they struggle is in their defensive game.
“If we can get it by the block you have a good chance to score,” Riley said. “So we are going to be better about making good swings and making the right choices at where we are hitting.”
The Hokies face an uphill battle against the Irish after their tough loss to UVa.
The Cavs got out to an early lead in the first game, going up 17-12 on the Hokies. Head coach Chris Riley burned his second timeout in hopes of slowing down the Cavs' momentum, but it was not enough, as UVa put together an 8-3 run to take the first game 25-15.
“We struggled to stop them. They didn’t make any mistakes, they passed well and our serve receive couldn’t keep up with them,” Riley said. “We couldn’t block against their speed, we didn’t pass well, they hit .600 in the first game.”
In the second game, the Cavs held a 20-17 lead at the end of the game, but Tech looked to rally late. The Hokies put together a run of three points that ended with a block from senior outside hitter Samantha Gostling.
The Hokies and the Cavs traded points the whole way to 28, before the Cavs used a kill and a block to take the 2-0 lead in the match.
The Hokies were able to build a 10-7 lead in the third game before UVa took a timeout.
The break seemed to help the Cavs, as they were able to pull within one at 16-15, forcing Tech to take a timeout of their own.
Tech came back from the break and put together a 4-2 run to go up again on the Cavs 20-17. But the Cavs would not be silenced, as again they were able to tie the score up at 20.
Much like the second game, the Hokies and Cavs traded points all the way up until 29-27, when kills from freshman outside hitter Lindsey Owens and Caine gave the Hokies the win.
The fourth game mirrored the first, as the Cavs were able to go up midway through the game, 14-11.
After a Tech timeout, the Hokies were unable to get anything going offensively and fell further behind, as the Cavs put together a 10-4 run to go up on Tech 24-15.
The Hokies looked to rally after back-to-back kills from Caine. However, it would not be enough as Virginia sealed the game and set winning 15-17.
Now, Tech is forced to play another challenging ACC game against Notre Dame.
The biggest key for Tech will be how they start the game.
“I think we need to work on being ready to go right away,” Caine said. “I don’t know how, but we need to fix our mental attitude from the beginning.”
Tonight’s game will mark the first time that Tech will ever face the Fighting Irish. Play begins at 7 p.m. in Cassell Coliseum.