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Firebirds Volleyball Sweeps Virginia State in Non-Conference Road Match

Junior Julia Lynch led the Firebirds with eight kills and zero errors.
Junior Julia Lynch led the Firebirds with eight kills and zero errors.

ETTRICK, VA – The University of the District of Columbia volleyball team defeated Virginia State, 3-0 (25-18, 25-12, 27-25) in a non-conference match on Thursday night played off-site at Appomattox Regional Governor School.

With the win, the Firebirds (11-13) equaled their win total from last season despite playing nine fewer matches thus far. The Trojans fell to 12-9 overall.

Junior Julia Lynch (Studio Art – Spring Creek, NV/Spring Creek HS) and senior Vanessa Garley (Marketing – Rio Rancho, NM/Rio Rancho HS) led the way for District of Columbia offensively with eight kills apiece. Lynch had zero errors in 23 attack attempts as she hit an impressive .348 for the night while Garley hit .286 and added two service aces, three blocks (two solo) and eight digs.

Defensively, the Firebirds benefitted from senior libero Grace Perilli's (Economics – Nashville, TN/Independence HS) match-high 11 digs as well as nine digs and two by freshman Jazmin Rogers (Mechanical Engineering – Tucson, AZ/Palo Verde HS).

Virginia State's Aubree Parker led the Trojans with six kills, six digs, two service aces and two blocks (both solo). Also, Nikkisha Walker and Whitley Bradley combined for 16 digs.

The first set featured a back-and-forth battle early on with Virginia State claiming a 10-8 lead after a Firebirds bad set. A kill by Lynch would then ignite an 8-2 Firebirds surge that would propel District of Columbia to a 16-12 lead. The Trojans pulled within three twice (16-13 and 19-16), but the Firebirds closed out the set on a 5-2 run and sealed a 25-18 victory on a kill by Lynch to take a 1-0 match lead.

Rogers helped District of Columbia jump out to a 6-1 lead in the second set with a kill and a service ace, but Virginia State fought its way back by winning six of the next nine match points to shrink the Firebirds' lead to 9-7. District of Columbia then countered with an 11-3 run which included three service aces by three different Firebird players, and the visitors took a commanding 20-10 advantage. They would go on to win by their largest margin, 25-12 and take a 2-0 match lead.

The Firebirds immediately seized control of set three as Garley had two early kills and Lynch had a kill and a service ace to lead District of Columbia to a quick, 7-2 advantage. Still leading 12-7, the Firebirds allowed the Trojans to go on an 13-3 charge which catapulted them into a 20-15 lead. Virginia State was one point away from forcing a fourth set as the Trojans led 24-17, but Garley led an inspired Firebird comeback as District of Columbia won the set and ended the match on a spectacular 10-1 surge. Rogers started the run with a kill to bring the Firebirds within six, 24-18. Then, following a VSU bad set and attack error, junior Tara Usko (History – Spring Creek, NV/Spring Creek HS) blasted her match-best third service ace of the match to pull the visitors within three, 24-21 and force the Trojans to call a timeout. Out of the timeout there was another VSU attack error followed by two consecutive kills by Garley, which resulted in a 24-all tie. After seven straight points by the Firebirds, Brianna Small stopped the bleeding for the Trojans with a kill, and put her team, once again, in position to win the set with one more point. Sophomore Kamene Rose (Psychology – Chula Vista, CA/Hilltop HS set for Lynch, who had zero errors on the night, and she delivered with her eighth kill of the match to knot the score at 25-all. District of Columbia went on to score the next two consecutive points on a VSU attack error and the eighth and final kill of the match for Garley to complete the comeback and win the set, 27-25.

Next up, the Firebirds host two East Coast Conference matches this weekend. First, they play Molloy for their annual "Dig Pink" match on Saturday, November 3rd at 11:00 a.m. Then, they host Roberts Wesleyan on Sunday at 2:00 p.m.