BLACKSBURG – The Virginia Tech volleyball team opened its season a strong note, taking two wins on the opening day of the Virginia Tech Invite. The Hokies beat Lehigh in five sets in match one, followed by a sweep of Toledo in match two.
It took all five sets to decide the first match for the Hokies, with Virginia Tech taking the first two sets, followed by Lehigh taking the next two. Virginia Tech was able to bounce back and take the fifth set 15-11 to record its first win of the 2021 season.
Tech took the first set 25-14 after a solid performance from Cera Powell. The junior had three kills, a block and a service ace to help lead the Hokies to a first set victory. The Hokies also recorded a reception percentage of .957 in the first set. Angel Robinson was also an important factor for the Hokies, recording two block assists.
The second set was another solid showing for the Hokies, taking it 25-19. Powell again led the team in kills with three, Griere Hughes also added three kills. Freshman Elayna Duprey added a spark for the Hokies as well, registering two attacks on two attempts.
Marisa Cerchio was big at the net, collecting a solo block, with Robinson and Hughes combining on an assist. Mara Perry continued to be strong in the setter position, with 12 combined assists through the first two sets.
Lehigh switched the momentum in the third set, taking a tight one 26-24. Set three was tight the whole way through, with the largest lead a 6-4 advantage by Lehigh. From there, both sides traded points until the Mountain Hawks pulled out a win off a kill from Megan Schulte.
The Mountain Hawks continued the momentum into the fourth set, forcing set five with a 25-19 win. Lehigh had its highest attack percentage in the fourth set, hitting .241 with 12 kills, compared to the Hokies who only had seven kills.
Set five was another tight set until the end when the Hokies pulled away from a 6-6 tie to take the 15-11 victory. Duprey and grad student Tasha Vipond came up big for the Hokies, recording three crucial kills between the two of them to lead Virginia Tech to its first win of the season.
Duprey ended her Tech debut with 11 kills, tied for a team-high with Hughes. Duprey also registered a team-high attack percentage of.529. Powell and Vipond also added 10 kills each. On the defensive side, libero Logan Mosley had 23 digs. Perry ended the first match of her sophomore campaign with 21 assists, while senior Talyn Jackson added 15. The Hokies ended the match with 14 total blocks and only one block error.
The Hokies swept Toledo in the second match of the day, taking down the Rockets 25-22, 25-19 and 25-22. Powell again led the charge for Virginia Tech, tallying 10 kills and adding two aces. Hughes also added seven kills and an ace.
During the first set, Powell hit .429 with three kills and a block assist. Perry added six assists, while Brie Postema also had two. The Hokies had a match-high .286 attack percentage in the first set, compared to only .140 from Toledo.
The second set saw 14 kills from the Hokies, with Cerchio leading the way with a .750 attack percentage. The fifth year tallied two kills within the last five points of the set to help push the Hokies to victory. Hughes also added four kills. Defensively, Powell and Mosley added six digs.
To close the match with a win, the Hokies took down the Rockets 25-22 in the third set to start the 2021 season 2-0. Tech had a balanced attack as Powell led the charge with four kills and Angel Robinson added three. Duprey and Hughes each added two and Vipond added one.
At the service line, Perry had a crucial ace to push the score to 23-19 and Duprey had a kill to force set point, with a service error on the Rockets to end the match. Perry also had six assists in the third set for another solid set.
The Hokies hit .245 as a team in the second match, compared to Toledo only hitting .159. Virginia Tech also kept a high reception percentage with a .945.