BUSTO ARSIZIO, Italy – The West Virginia University volleyball team claimed a 3-2 win over Unet Yamamay Busto Arsizio at PalaYamamay in Busto Arsizio, Italy, on Monday evening. WVU claimed the win in sets scores of 16-25, 25-21, 25-23, 20-25 and 17-15.
The teams played according to international rules, which differ slightly from NCAA rules. Middle and setter pushes are called much tighter in International rules, and screening the serve is allowed and is common practice.The setter has first right to the ball, even if part of the ball is over the net. Substitution rules are one entry and with six total substitutes, which minimizes the defensive specialist position and forcing outside hitters to pass.
“This was a great opportunity for our program,” said WVU coach Reed Sunahara. “Playing a team of this caliber and getting international experience is something that will only help our program get better.
The Mountaineers struggled to adjust in the first set, falling to Busto 25-16. Caffrey led the way for WVU with four kills, hitting .670 in the set. She also tied with Taylor Cross
and Gotterba for the team lead in digs with two. Swanegan and Katelyn Evans
each notched a block for the Mountaineers.
WVU got off to a hot start in the second set, withstanding a late Busto rally for a 25-21 win to tie the match 1-1. Caffrey again led the Mountaineers, registering seven kills. Cuckovich grabbed a team-best three digs, while Natania Levak
netted an ace and a block.
Busto got off to a fast start in the third, but the Mountaineers worked their way out of the hole to take the lead midway through the set. Behind Caffrey and Evans, WVU took the third set, 25-23, for a 2-1 lead in the match. The two combined for eight kills, while Gotterba notched a team-leading four digs in the set. Cuckovich registered four aces, while Swanegan netted a pair of blocks.
West Virginia faltered in the fourth set as Busto claimed a 25-20 win to even the score at 2-2. Caffrey and Morgan Montgomery
each tallied three kills, while Cross notched a trio of digs. Cuckovich served WVU’s lone ace of the set.
In spite of a late scare in the fifth set, WVU came away with the 17-15 win. Levak tallied a team-high four kills, while Gotterba added three more digs. Levak also posted a block while newcomer Emma Anderson
subbed in and scored a pair of aces. The Mountaineers twice served match point, but Busto scored on three straight rallies to take a 15-14 lead. However, Swanegan and Slinde then came through as WVU took the fifth set 17-15 for a 3-2 win.
West Virginia is in the midst of a 12-day tour of Europe. The Mountaineers arrived in Milan on Sunday and spent the first two days practicing and exploring the city. On Monday morning, the team took a day trip to Lake Corso Como for sightseeing. They travel to Venice on Tuesday and will next face the Slovenia or Croatian National team on Thursday.