Over the next few weeks we'll count down the Top 10 moments in Virginia Tech sports in the 2010-11 sports season. Only one moment per sport is eligible for the countdown, otherwise this would just be seven or eight football moments and then it might as well have just been the football Top 10 and done in January. And since I was too lazy to do that and there isn't anything going on during the summer we're doing this. Hope you enjoy.
In its 34th season of existence, coach Chris Riley and the Virginia Tech volleyball team did something it had never done before in 2010: The Hokies made the NCAA Tournament.
Led by sophomore Cara Baarendse, junior Justine Record and senior Felicia Willoughby, the Hokies finished the regular season 19-11, including 10-10 in the ACC. They were one of five ACC team selected to the NCAA field, where they beat Delaware in the first round before falling to eventual champion Penn State in the second. The Nittany Lions lost only one set (in the quarterfinals against Duke) on their way to their fourth consecutive national title.
The Hokies started their 2010 season on fire, winning 10 of their first 11 games in four tournaments prior to ACC play. Their lone loss was to No. 19 Tennessee in three sets at the season-opening Lady Vol Classic. Tech then swept through their own tournament and one at Western Kentucky with Baarendse claiming MVP honors at both.
Tech's fortunes changed drastically once it got into full-time ACC play, however. The Hokies dropped five consecutive conference games to fall to 1-5. That losing streak included two of the three home losses Tech would suffer all season against Clemson and Georgia Tech.
Tech got back on track with a win over a loathsome Boston College squad that would finish the season 1-19 in conference play. That win seemed to cure what was ailing the Hokies as it began a streak of eight wins in 10 matches.
The Hokies claimed their biggest win of the season during that stretch, knocking off No. 25 FSU in a thrilling five-set match that may have been what got the Hokies into the postseason. In that match Record recorded a Virginia Tech season-high 26 kills and also had 20 digs.
In the NCAA Tournament, Tech dispatched Delaware in three sets in their regional at University Park, Pa., but unfortunately met up with college volleyball juggernaut Penn State. The Lions hit .321 for the match, well over the .197 Tech allowed during the regular season.
Tech will lose only one major contributor in Willoughby, but will be able to rely on Record, Baarendse and another sophomore from 2010, Jennifer Wiker to try to lead the Hokies back into the postseason in 2011.
Other Highlights from Volleyball Season
- Hokies sweep UVa.
- Hokies beat No. 25 FSU.
- Hokies knock off ACC champion Duke.