User ID: Password:

September 11, 2009

Volleyball squad off to best start in program history

By: Matt Kovatch

Felicia Willoughby was named the MVP of the Virginia Tech Tournament on September 5.

A total of six games is a small blip on a 31-game radar screen, but when you win all six of those games, it’s a pretty big deal, especially when it’s never been done before.

The Virginia Tech volleyball team swept through its first two weekends of play to start the season 6-0 for the first time in program history, winning both tournaments as hosts on Aug. 28-29 and Sept. 4-5, respectively.

The Hilton Garden Hokie Invitational opened the season, with Tech winning the tournament title for the fourth straight year. Senior Taylor Parrish was named the MVP of the tournament after leading the Hokies in kills for all three matches. Parrish racked up 19 kills and two blocks in a 3-1 win against Montana, recorded 16 kills with three blocks in the 3-1 victory over UNC Greensboro and tallied 12 kills and four blocks in a 3-0 sweep of Liberty.

The following weekend, the Hokies swept through the VT Tournament, knocking off East Carolina 3-0, Norfolk State 3-0 and Arkansas 3-2. The win over Norfolk State was head coach Chris Riley’s 200th career victory, while the win over Arkansas pushed Tech’s home non-conference record under Riley to 14-0.

Junior Felicia Willoughby landed 21 kills in the tournament and put together a team-high .409 hitting percentage, upping her season clip to .390, also the highest on the squad. The Pleasanton, Calif., native also racked up 15 blocks throughout the tournament, including five of the solo variety, and was named the tournament’s MVP for her efforts.

Women’s soccer splits at season’s first two tournaments

Emily Jukich and Robin Chidester celebrate a goal in Tech's season-opening win over High Point.
After opening the season with a 2-0 win over High Point, the Tech women’s soccer team went 1-1 in each of its first two tournaments to push its early-season record to 3-2.

A double overtime, 2-1 loss to the host Wildcats got the Villanova Tournament off to a rough start on Aug. 28, but Tech bounced back on Aug. 30 with a 1-0 shutout of Lehigh. Junior Marika Gray provided the lone goal with her first score of the season.

In the UNC Greensboro Tournament the following weekend, an unlikely face starred at goalkeeper for the Hokies. After newcomer Rebekah Brook saw most of the minutes in goal over the first three contests, senior Robin Chidester, normally a forward, took over in net midway through the first half of the VCU game on Sept. 4. Chidester played 82 minutes, allowing two goals and making just one save, but the Hokies came out on top, winning 4-3 in overtime. Junior Kelsey Billups notched the game winner, the first goal of her career, in the eighth minute of the bonus session.

Chidester made the start in net two days later against Stanford and made 13 saves, but the fourth-ranked team in the country cruised to a 5-0 victory.

Men’s soccer lays claim to Wisconsin tournament

After losing its season opener on Sept. 1 to UMBC 3-1, the men’s soccer team made the trek north to Madison, Wisc., to take part in the Middleton Sports and Fitness Invitational.

Tech and the host Badgers battled to a scoreless draw in double overtime on Sept. 4, with senior goalkeeper Brendan Dunn making an impressive nine saves. The Hokies then got their first victory of the season with a 2-1 decision over Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Sept. 4. Newcomer Koen Oost scored his first goal as Hokie for the game’s first tally, while redshirt junior Charlie Campbell netted his first of the season midway through the second half as insurance.

Tech defenders Alex Baden and David Fiorello, as well as Oost and fellow midfielder Gregory Cochrane, were named to the all-tournament team. Campbell was named the tournament's offensive MVP.

Hokies roll in first cross country meet

The Virginia Tech men’s and women’s cross country squads each captured their respective season openers on Sept. 4, sweeping the Virginia Tech Cross Country Relays in easy fashion.

The unique format, which is different than every other cross country meet of the year, put teammates into pairs. The men's race consisted of two 3.5-mile legs for each runner, with each partner alternating legs. The women's race consisted of two 2.5-mile legs for each runner, with each partner alternating legs. The top three teams counted toward meet scoring.

On the men’s side, Tech took the top three spots to ensure the team crown. The duo of freshman Jason Cusack and sophomore Chris Walizer teamed up to take first place with a combined time of 45:05. Juniors Ryan Witt and Eddie Judge earned a shared time of 45:15 to place second, while freshmen Doug Fenstermacher and Tihut Degfae claimed third with a collective time of 45:17.

The Hokie women also fared well in the race. Juniors Lindsey King and Jessica Trapeni paired up and won the women’s title with a shared clocking of 37:22, while sophomores Lauren Pinkston and Sammy Dow came in third, earning a collective time of 37:49.