Toledo Volleyball Earns Comeback Win over Marshall; Drops Match to Virginia Tech

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The Toledo volleyball program wrapped up day two of the Thunder Invite with a doubleheader split as the Rockets completed an incredible comeback to defeat Marshall in five sets and fell to Virginia Tech in four sets.

Toledo finished second at the Thunder Invite ahead of host Marshall and Virginia Tech of the ACC with Maryland from the Big Ten taking first place. The Rockets had 11.36 kills per set and had 20 service aces and 26 blocks.

Overall at the Thunder Invite, the Rockets had four players with at least 20 kills with senior Saige Thomas leading the way with 43 kills. Senior Rachel Vidourek notched 31 kills with a team-high attack percentage of .338.

UT got stellar play from freshman Caleigh Barhorst who had seven service aces along with 18 kills and 24 digs. Fellow freshman Chloee Kleespies also had a fantastic tournament with 21 kills while hitting .237. Kleespies was also second on the team over the weekend with 11 blocks.

Junior Maurissa Leonard and senior Rachel Vidourek were named to the Marshall Invite All-Tournament team. Leonard led UT with 72 digs over the weekend with an average of 5.14 dps. In the comeback five-set victory against Marshall, Leonard recorded a game-high 40 digs.

Vidourek was second on the team with 31 kills and registered a stellar .338 attack percentage over the weekend. Against Virginia Tech, the Oxford, Ohio native had a team-high 15 kills while hitting .519.

"Extremely proud of the team and how the team battled this weekend," said head coach Greg Smith. "We battled well with a tough Maryland team to five sets and then had to come back Saturday and fight back to win a tough five-setter against Marshall. Against Virginia Tech, we just ran out of gas and not taking anything away from VT because they are a great team, but we just didn't have anything left in the tank."

"Overall, I loved seeing the resolve and the competitiveness in our two matches on Saturday against Marshall and Virginia Tech."

First Match vs. Marshall:
Against Marshall after trailing 2-0, the Rockets rallied for an incredible comeback to the defeat the Thundering Herd in five sets (15-25, 21-25, 25-23, 25-23, 26-24). In the final set, both teams traded points down the stretch with an ace by freshman Caleigh Barhorst sealing the deal for the Rockets victory. Barhorst registered her second double-double of the season with a career-high 15 kills to go along with 11 digs.

Overall against the Thunder Herd, the Rockets had three players with double digit kills with Barhorst and senior Saige Thomas each having 15 along with senior Annie Beasley collecting ten kills. Defensively, UT had ten blocks while junior Maurissa Leonard led the team with 40 digs and senior Brianna Foster had 53 assists.

Marshall was dominant in the first two sets of the match, recording a combined attack percentage of .284. Trailing 2-0, the Rockets held on for a 25-23 victory in the third set despite the Thundering Herd cutting the lead to one four times during the set. UT's lead was cut to 20-19 before the Rockets rattled off three straight points to regain the lead for good and take the third set.

Toledo was dominant in the fourth set as the Rockets held Marshall to a .025 attack percentage. Down the stretch, the Rockets had a run of four straight points along with two streaks of two points to win the fourth set, 25-23.

It was a fifth set to remember as the Rockets and Thundering Herd clashed for control of the match. After the set was tied at 15-15, both teams traded points with the Rockets having an opportunity to win the match eight times. Towards the end with the set tied at 24-24, Barhorst scored the final two points on a kill and a service ace to complete the Toledo comeback.

Second Match vs. Virginia Tech:
Toledo went up against their second ACC opponent of the season in the final match of the Thunder Invite and fell to the Virginia Tech in four sets (17-25, 25-21, 21-25, 16-25).

For the second straight match, the Rockets had two players with double-digit kills as Rachel Vidourek led UT with 15 kills while Saige Thomas had 13. While also leading the team in kills, Vidourek had a staggering .519 attack percentage.

Defensively, the Midnight Blue and Gold recorded ten blocks to Virginia Tech's six.

In the first set, UT and VT went back and forth through the first 14 points as the match was tied at 7-7. Virginia Tech ultimately scored six of seven points to take an 11-8 lead. Toledo cut the lead to one at 12-11 before the Hokies rattled off six straight points to take command of the lead for good. VT took the final three points down the stretch to take a 25-17 first-set victory.

The Rockets took the second set, 25-21 after securing seven of the first 10 points to grab an early lead. The turning point in the set came later on when freshman Chloee
Kleespies and senior Annie Beasley executed a perfect block to stop a Virginia Tech rally and give UT a 24-21 lead. Freshman Emma Swope grabbed the final point of the set to tie the match at 1-1.

Back and forth UT and VT went in the third as both teams battled back and forth. Toledo trailed by one point late in the set before VT rattled off four straight points and five of the last seven to earn the third set victory, 25-21.

In the last set, Virginia Tech cruised to a 25-16 victory after registering an attack percentage of .333. Toledo took an early lead at 7-6 but from that point on it was all VT as they rattled off five straight points to control the lead. The Hokies won six straight points at the end to win the set and the match.