The Wake Forest Demon Deacons 9-1 (0-0) travelled to Fairfax, Va., this past weekend to face off against George Mason (3-7), William & Mary (3-5) and Seton Hall (5-8) in the Mason Invitational. The Deacons entered the competition as heavy favorites and subsequently proved their worth by sweeping all three teams while only losing two total games.
The three consecutive victories continued what has been an extremely hot start for The Deacs, who sits only a half game back of Pittsburgh for first in the ACC. This came after a preseason vote saw the ACC’s head coaches collectively pick Wake Forest to finish last in the conference with zero players making the All-ACC team.
The Demon Deacons’ first game of the Mason Invitational came Friday night against George Mason. This contest was not all that close as Wake Forest won three straight games by a score of 25-17, 25-21, 25-18. Freshman outside hitter Peyton Suess continued her incredible debut season by recording a team-high 17 kills. Junior setter Madeline Holt contributed her third double-double of the season with 19 assists and 10 digs.
Wake Forest held George Mason to a paltry 7.4 hitting percentage and 23 errors on the night. Sophomore outside hitter Siron Hardy led the Patriots with 11 kills, and sophomore setter Erin Derick posted 17 assists in the losing effort.
The Demon Deacons’ Saturday doubleheader began with a slightly more competitive game against William & Mary, who managed to steal one game before succumbing to a 25-17, 19-25, 28-26, 25-22 Deacon victory. Wake Forest took the first set easily as William & Mary beat themselves up, committing 11 errors for a negative hitting percentage. An 8-2 run in the middle of the set also proved instrumental for the Demon Deacons, as they turned a 10-9 deficit into a 17-12 lead before closing out the set 25-17.
The Griffins tightened up considerably in the following set, as they committed only five errors against 12 kills en route to a 25-19 set victory. A kill from junior outside hitter Caroline Kuhn brought the score to 20-19, but William & Mary strung together four straight kills from four different players to close out the set 25-19.
William & Mary improved their play even further in the third and fourth sets, recording a 25.3 hitting percentage across both sets. The Deacons stepped up too, recording only six errors against 18 kills in the third set before playing immaculate volleyball in the fourth set, posting 15 kills and zero errors.
Wake Forest continued its excellent play into their next match against Seton Hall, as the Deacons rolled in four sets by a score of 25-22, 25-19, 20-25, 25-15. The Demon Deacons recorded an astounding 60 total kills across four sets against the Pirates’ 39 total kills.
Suess led the charge for Wake Forest again on Saturday, posting 15 kills against William & Mary and a career-best 19 kills against Seton Hall. Sophomore middle blocker Jaclyn Childress recorded 12 blocks on the day, and senior libero Caitlin Clarke posted 42 total digs.
Three days after a career day for Peyton Suess, she was named ACC Co-Freshman of the Week. Interim Head Coach Randi Smart praised her star outside hitter, saying, “This is a well-deserved honor for Peyton. She has been a solid addition to our team this season and has provided a strong offensive presence. Her volleyball IQ, work ethic and drive will help her continue to contribute at a high level as we begin conference play.”
Wake Forest opens ACC play at home this weekend with matches against Miami Friday night at 6 p.m. and Florida State Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.