Virginia completes five-set comeback over Akron in home opener

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

volleyballThe Virginia volleyball team came back to win its first home match of the 2021 season after defeating Akron (16-25, 25-22, 22-25, 25-17, 15-12) in front of a packed Memorial Gymnasium crowd on Friday night.

The victory also marked the first home win in Mem Gym of the Shannon Wells’ era, who is in her first season as Cavalier head coach. Virginia senior outside hitter Grace Turner led the way, posting a match-high 17 kills on 41 swings and added five blocks.

Akron won the first after taking advantage of multiple unanswered runs and led by as many as nine points (20-11) late in the set.

Virginia evened the match after winning the second set, 25-22. The Cavaliers posted a team total of 5.0 blocks in the second frame, including three block assists each from Abby Tadder and Mary Shaffer. Turner also contributed one block solo. The Cavaliers’ defensive effort held Akron to a .000 hitting percentage for the set.

In the third, Virginia capitalized on a 6-1 run in the middle of the game to take the lead after trailing 14-10. However, the Zips halted Virginia’s momentum by closing out the set on 5-0 run and took a 2-1 lead.

The Cavaliers dominated the fourth, hitting .600 on 20 swings with just one error. Virginia grasped an early 15-9 lead with the help of a 4-0 run before kills by Turner and Shaffer solidified the set in UVA’s favor.

After trailing 8-3, the Cavaliers orchestrated a 6-0 run to cling to 12-9 lead. Then, the Zips posted three unanswered points of their own to tie the set, 12-12.

With the deciding set tied, Wells re-inserted outside hitter Brooklyn Borum the Cavaliers’ rotation and the Sterling, Illinois native delivered a kill to give the Cavaliers a one-point lead. Virginia scored the next two points to seal the set and match.