Cavaliers earn season-opening sweep over The Citadel

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

Sarah Billiard (Photo by Matt Riley, UVA Athletics)

Virginia rallied from an early first-set deficit to sweep The Citadel, 25-20, 25-21, 25-23, inside Memorial Gymnasium on Friday night in the season opener for the Cavaliers.

Senior Sarah Billiard led Virginia (1-0) with nine kills while fellow senior Christine Jarman added seven terminations to the win. Freshman libero Madison Morey turned in an impressive 20-dig performance in her collegiate debut.

The Citadel (0-3) was led offensively by Mellanie King with 13 kills. Libero Kenzie Kellerman racked up 14 digs for the Bulldogs in the loss.

“When we scheduled this match the team lit up,” said head coach Aaron Smith. “Our approach to the season is to take advantage of every day in the gym practice-wise and certainly every opportunity to play a match – it’s an opportunity we do not take lightly. To get out here tonight on a short turnaround in terms of scheduling the match was really beneficial for the team and it’s going to prepare us for these upcoming eight matches.”

SET 1: Virginia 25-20

A slow start landed the Cavaliers in a 12-5 hole to open the match as The Citadel hit .500 in the opening points. King scored seven times in the opening set for the Bulldogs, powering the early lead.

A pair of 5-0 Virginia runs, the latter powered by two kills and a block from Billiard, staked the Cavaliers to a 17-14 advantage. UVA never looked back, taking a 25-20 win on Simone Dominique’s third kill of the frame.

SET 2: Virginia 25-21

Once again, the Citadel gained the early edge and controlled the set through the first 15 points. Trailing 18-16, Virginia used a 3-0 run, capped by a block from Jayna Francis and Mattison Matthews, to take a narrow lead.

The Citadel drew even again at 21-21 before Virginia ran off the final four points of the set to take a 2-0 lead.

SET 3: Virginia 25-23

The third set followed the same script as The Citadel took an early advantage. Four kills from de Jesus helped the Bulldogs maintain their advantage deep into the frame at 21-18.

After trading points, Virginia went on a 3-0 run thanks to back-to-back aces from Maddie Boylston to tie the set at 22. The two teams then traded a point to reach 23-all before Virginia used back-to-back blocks to close out the match. Matthews and Dominique rejected the first before Matthews paired with Francis for the final point.

Box Score


  • Three Cavaliers finished with double-digit digs. Morey led the way with her 20, followed by Alex Spencer with 12 and Francis with 11.
  • Jarman led the team with a .429 hitting percentage with seven kills on 14 swings.
  • Virginia won its season opener for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.
  • Dominique finished the match with a career-best six kills.


Virginia returns to action on Friday, Oct. 2 against Duke in the ACC opener. The Cavaliers and Blue Devils will play a pair of games in two days in Memorial Gymnasium.


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