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Virginia Tech Olympic Sports Update 10/24/20

Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics (Photo is Pre-COVID pandemic)

Check out the latest on some of Virginia Tech's other Olympic sports including a volleyball program that has had a great start under new head coach Marci Byers.

Men’s Soccer

Virginia Tech got the long awaited arrival of their home-opening matchup against the #5 Virginia Cavaliers, and it did not disappoint.

After suffering a 4-2 defeat against the #2 Pittsburgh Panthers, the Hokies looked to come back to Thompson Field and capture their first victory of the season.

The Hokies started out strong out of the gate with dominating possession and had a significant 9-3 advantage in shots compared to the Cavaliers, unfortunately for Virginia Tech they were not able to capitalize on those chances.

The first half of the Commonwealth Clash was scoreless, but the Hokies made big plays in the second half to put themselves in a position to come out on top.

In the 61st minute, the first big scoring chance came in favor of the Cavaliers after a foul inside the 18 yard box gave Irakoze Donasiyano a scoring opportunity against the Hokies’ goalkeeper Matt Zambetti.

The sophomore goalkeeper came up big for the Hokies with a diving safe to keep the game scoreless and did not leverage the momentum in the Cavaliers’ directions.

Approximately 15 minutes later came Virginia Tech’s golden opportunity to take the lead after Daniel Pereira’s through ball found the speedy Kahlil Dover into a playable area. The junior, Dover, got a great touch on the ball and curved it past Virginia’s goalkeeper Colin Shutler to give the Hokies the 1-0 lead in the 77th minute.

Unfortunately for the Hokies, the lead did not last long as the Cavaliers scored a minute later as Joan Gilbert’s free kick ricocheted off Tech’s wall and got past the hands of the outstretched Zambetti to knot the score up at 1-1.

After the Cavaliers’ equalizer, both teams scrambled to give themselves the lead in the dying minutes of regulation as the best chance for the Hokies came in the 89th minute as Nathan Durst’s header off a free kick went just north of the bar and out of play.

As the game headed into the two overtime periods, there was not that much of an opportunity from both sides and they played to 1-1 draw, giving both teams their first tie of the season.

The Virginia Tech Hokies improve their record to 0-1-1 as the Virginia Cavaliers remain undefeated with a 1-0-1 record.

The next matchup for the Hokies will take place on Saturday, October 24th as the Syracuse Orange (0-2-1) comes down to Blacksburg to square off at 7pm, as both teams look to get their first victory of the season.

Women’s Volleyball

After a brief pause , they were able to deliver a solid weekend performance against the Virginia Cavaliers last week.

It’s not common for two teams to face off twice in the same season, but the way the ACC has aligned the women’s volleyball schedule in 2020 has universities playing back-to-back matchups in the same venue.

After a season-opening win against The Citadel and a weekend split with the University of North Carolina in earlier this season, the Hokies got to take on their commonwealth foe twice in Cassell Coliseum.

The first matchup took place on October 16th and Virginia, who came into this weekend with a 1-1 (0-1) record, got off to a strong start in the first set, going up 13-8.

The Hokies quickly responded and came back in the set to take the lead and pull off a 27-25 victory in a competitive first set.

The second set outperformed the first set in terms of scoring as both teams went back-to-forth to score a total of sixty points, but the Cavaliers pulled out the victory giving themselves the 31-29 set score and pulled them even with the Hokies in a 1-1 match score.

Just like the previous two sets, the third provided several lead changes as the Cavaliers were looking to get the set with a 20-18 lead, but the Hokies battled back and pulled out the 25-23 victory thanks to the back-to-back kills by Ashley Homan.

The Hokies were looking to close the match up in the forth set and they worked their way out to a 18-14 lead. The Cavaliers did pose a threat at the end of the set, but the Hokies did enough to cross the finish line by winning the set 26-24.

The standout player of the match for Virginia Tech was Marisa Cerchio, who posted her career-high 17 kills on the match and a Hokies-high three blocks. Talyn Jackson also contributed to the Hokies’ success with registering 30 assists while committing zero errors.

As the weekend headed into Sunday, the Hokies were looking to get the sweep over the Cavaliers and improve their record to 4-1 in the second Commonwealth Clash.

The matchup started competitively as both teams were trading points in the first set, but a 7-2 run by the Hokies pulled themselves away from the Cavaliers and took the early 1-0 advantage with a 25-21 first set victory.

The second set was no different than the start of the first, as both teams were battling it out until the Hokies had another run to break themselves away from the Cavaliers. Virginia Tech’s 8-1 run was too much for Virginia and they took the second set with ease via a 25-15 victory.

Heading into the third set, the Hokies looked to put it away but the Cavaliers thought differently as they jumped out to a 7-2 lead over the Hokies. Virginia Tech tried to make a push and get themselves back into the mix, but Virginia was too strong and held them off, capturing a 25-18 third set victory.

The fourth set was by far the most competitive in the match as both teams were keeping up with one another and played consistently throughout the set. While the score was tied at 20 apiece, Marisa Cerchio provided a clutch kill which pushed the Hokies to the finish line and gave them a 25-22 set victory and a 3-1 victory in the match.

The key player in the match for Virginia Tech was Katie Smith, who recorded her 1000th kill with the Hokies in her career while also recording her second double-double with 17 kills and 14 digs. Libero Logan Mosley also was a pivotal piece in the Hokies success as she registered her season-high 21 digs.

When the weekend was all said and done, the Hokies improved to a 4-1 (3-1) record while the Cavaliers dropped to 1-3 (0-3) on the season.

Looking at the ACC standings, this weekend’s performance helped bolster the Hokies up the ranks into fourth in conference, only trailing the likes of Georgia Tech, Notre Dame and Duke.

Up next for Virginia Tech is a difficult trip down to Durham, North Carolina to take on the Duke Blue Devils twice inside Cameron Indoor Stadium for their first road matchups of the 2020 season.

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