Wake Forest volleyball team goes 1-1 at home

After being swept by No. 7 Pitt, the Demon Deacons sweep Virginia


Evan Harris

Junior outside hitter Ashley Slater (No. 14 in black) sends down a powerful strike on the Cavaliers. Slater led Wake Forest in kills with 10.

Evan Harris, Photography Editor

The Wake Forest Volleyball team went 1-1 at home over the weekend with a 3-0 loss to #7 Pitt and a 3-0 victory against UVA. The Wake Forest volleyball team hosted the No. 7 Pitt Panthers at the Reynolds Gym on Friday, Oct. 28 after two long weeks of being on the road. Despite a tough performance against highly skilled opposition, the Deacs were unable to prevent a Pittsburgh sweep, losing the match 25-21, 25-13, 25-19. The game marked their fifth loss in a row, three of their last five losses being sweeps. 

From the beginning of the first set, Pitt maintained an early lead, pulling ahead 5-1. The first set marked a career milestone for graduate student Andrea Fuentes, who recorded her 4,500th assist for Wake Forest. The Deacons started the game on the backfoot, but found their rhythm with kills by junior Olivia Franke, senior Emmy Ogogor, and freshman Paige Crawford, cutting Pitt’s lead to just one at 8-7. The Demon Deacons would eventually take the lead for the first time following an ace from freshman Rian Baker. While the Deacs were able to keep it close, the Panthers showed why they are a top-10 team, going on a 4-0 run to cement their lead, taking the first set shortly afterward. 

The second set performance did not have the same intensity; the Deacs made twice as many errors (10) as they did kills (5), hitting a -0.179 percentage compared to Pitt’s .370. Wake drew first blood but was unable to keep the shifting momentum, allowing a dominating performance by the Panthers, who took their second set comfortably. 

The Deacons would put up a valiant effort in the third set, keeping it close until the very end. Wake remained competitive thanks to strong performances by junior Olivia Franke who led the Deacs on the night in kills (8) and blocks (3) and freshman Rian Baker who led in assists (12). Wake kept a steady lead for their first 12 points, going back and forth with the Panthers soon afterward. The third set featured 8 ties and 5 lead changes. The Demon Deacons were unable to hold on towards the end of play, falling in the final set 25-19 after an unanswered Pitt scoring run. Pittsburgh extended their 15-game winning streak and retained their spot at the top of the ACC standings. 

On Sunday, Oct. 30,  the Deacons hosted the University of Virginia Cavaliers. Wake Forest took all three sets winning the match 25-16, 25-20, 25-23 and snapped its five-game losing streak. The Demon Deacons made a dominating return to winning ways, recording an impressive .358 hitting percentage—their second highest percentage in 2022. Five Demon Deacons ended the night with 6 or more kills, outscoring Virginia 57-38. The Demon Deacons came out with intention in the first set, entering the game with a 5-0 unanswered scoring run helped by three aces by Fuentes. The Cavaliers’ attempt to keep it close was shut down by the Demon Deacons who could not be caught, maintaining a lead of at least three throughout the whole set. 

In the second set the Deacs recorded an impressive .464 hitting percentage committing only two errors. UVA only committed three errors compared to Wake’s two. The Demon Deacons, however, controlled the tempo, creating a lead that Virginia would never overtake, taking set two with ease. 

Both teams fought tooth and nail in the final set. UVA opened the scoring off of a Wake error, leading the game for the first time in the contest. The Cavaliers were unable to hold onto the lead after a 7-0 run by the Demon Deacons put the score at 8-3. Virginia responded with a 6-0 scoring run of their own, tying the match at 11. Both teams went back and forth in a suspenseful finish that went right down to the wire. The Deacons were able to hang on for a narrow 2 point victory in the 3rd set, sweeping the Cavaliers in front of a packed home crowd. 

Wake Forest Volleyball (13-10, 5-7 ACC) will be back in action this week with two ACC conference matchups. First, the Deacs will play last-place Virginia Tech (2-10) in Blacksburg at 6 p.m. on Wednesday. On Sunday, the Demon Deacons host Big Four rival Duke at the Reynolds Gymnasium at 1 p.m.