MARIBOR, Slovenia – The West Virginia University volleyball team dropped a 3-1 match to the Croatian National Team on Thursday afternoon at the Dras Center in Maribor, Slovenia. The Mountaineers fell in set scores of 14-25, 20-25, 25-11 and 21-25.
, who played for the Croatian Junior National Team, found herself squaring off with several of her former teammates and led the Mountaineers with nine kills. Gianna Gotterba
had a team-best 20 digs, while Taylor Cross
added in four aces. Levak also led the squad with five blocks.
“I think we can take away a lot from tonight’s match,” WVU coach Reed Sunahara said. “This is an incredibly experienced team. We can only get better by playing teams of this caliber, and I’m glad it’s something we got a chance to experience.”
After scoring four straight to start the match, Croatia claimed the first set by a score of 25-14. Katelyn Evans
led the way with three kills for the Mountaineers. Gotterba registered a team-best five digs, while Cross and Slinde each notched a service ace. Caffrey and Evans recorded a block each.
Despite a solid start for WVU, Croatia came back to take a 9-6 lead and never looked back, winning the set, 25-20. Payton Caffrey
and Levak tied for the team lead with three kills each in the set, while Levak was also the blocking leader with two. Gotterba once again led the floor defense, digging a team-high six balls, and had the Mountaineers’ lone service ace of the set.
The Mountaineers rallied and claimed the third set, 25-11, to extend the match. Levak was once again an offensive leader, boasting a team-best four kills. West Virginia scored five services aces in the set, with three coming from Cross. Levak posted a pair of blocks in the set, while Gotterba was again the team leader with six digs.
The two teams battled back and forth in the fourth set, but Croatia eventually pulled away with a 25-21 win to take the match by a score of 3-1. Evans put down a team-best three kills, while also adding a block. Mia Swanegan
netted an ace, while Levak also posted a block and Caffrey ended the set as the team leader in digs with four.
West Virginia will be back in action at the Dras Center on Friday afternoon when the Mountaineers face the Austrian National Team.