Friday night at the Siegel Center featured a 1st vs. 2nd Atlantic 10 Volleyball grudge match between VCU and Dayton. The Flyers were looking to avenge their home defeat at the hands of the Rams earlier in September. Both squads laid everything on the table as the Siegel Center brought the noise while watching VCU defend their A-10 throne.
Let’s Get Busy
Tori Baldwin started the night with the opening VCU kill that sprung a 3-0 run for the Black & Gold out the gates. Dayton would get their first kill from Lauren Bruns to stay within striking range. Vicky Giommarini and Paula Neciporuka came up big with more kills that increased VCU’s lead to 8-4.
Blocks were on the menu and served by Julia Adler and Jasmin Sneed to Dayton’s displeasure. A handful of attacking and service errors forced a Dayton timeout at 7-13. VCU kept the hammer down with two more points after that timeout with a kill by Giommarini and a team block by Baldwin and Gina Tuzzolo. Fans went crazy as VCU won 5 consecutive points against the Flyers.
Tuzzolo kept up her work rate with a cross-court kill off the assist from Dajah Ard. Following that was a service ace from the junior out of Newport News. Dayton burned another timeout after Adler and Sneed denied the Flyers once more for a team block number 2. Trailing 12-20, there was a second wind for the visitors as Dayton started chipping away at VCU’s lead.
The deficit was too great and so was Giommarini with 6 kills in Set 1. VCU took the opening set 25-20. The Rams had 7 total blocks on the Flyers during Set 1.
Flyers Regain Ground
Dayton got their offense restarted in the next set to take advantage early. With four quick points, VCU had to play catch up as Ard set up Giommarini for the kill to put the Rams within a point. Jasmin Sneed blocked Kendyll Brown at the net to tie the set at 4-4.
A comedy of attacking errors by the visitors followed by an Adler spike gave VCU three consecutive points and the lead. VCU made crucial attacking errors that put Dayton back at level terms and both squads traded kills on the scoreboard. 5 straight points came in order for the Flyers on a run that featured 3 kills and a team block.
Head Coach Jody Rogers called timeout with VCU trailing 9-12. Baldwin and Tuzzolo said no to Dayton with a team block to put the Rams closer. Ard set up Baldwin nicely for the wide open kill and Neciporuka scored a service ace for the Black & Gold. Dayton would regain the lead of another block but was short lived as Baldwin scored another kill and Alyna Draper tied the set with a service ace.
A late 5-0 scoring rush by the Flyers put VCU on the ropes once again. Two kills by Dayton, a team block and two attacking errors by the Rams forced sat the Flyers in front 19-14. The visitors unleashed another scoring attack of 4 straight points to put the set out of reach. Alli Papesh finished Set 2 with a service ace to give Dayton the 25-16 victory.
Shock The System?
VCU and Dayton went after it in Set 3. Things were pretty even in the early parts of the set including a service ace for each team. Draper scored the VCU ace and Sneed followed that with her third kill of the night. Dayton had some breathing room with a small lead after a few VCU attacking errors.
Sneed linked up with Neciporuka for a tag team blocking clinic to put VCU within a point at 7-8. Brooke Westbeld was whistled for a ball handling error for Dayton and Neciporuka made the Flyers pay with back to back VCU kills. Dayton would collect the next 5 points to spring ahead of the Rams 15-10.
The trifecta of Giommarini, Neciporuka, and Tuzzolo did what they could to bring their Rams back into Set 3. All 3 Rams collected much-needed kills and Giommarini banged home a service ace to put VCU just four points behind the Flyers. Just as the home team was gaining momentum, Dayton knocked the Rams down with a pair of kills and an ace to go up 23-17. The Flyers would go up 2-1 after winning Set 3 25-19.
VCU Ain’t Done Yet!
Neither team could take charge as Set 4 got into the works. Giommarini was still in killing form and was joined by Adler in the VCU ranks. Dayton stayed on VCU’s tail until back to back attacking errors by Alli Papesh put the Rams ahead 8-5.
VCU continued attacking thanks to the efforts of Giommarini and Sneed. Ard set up Sneed at the net as she slammed another one home. Following that was a team block by Giomarini and Sneed as the Rams blocked Dayton’s Brooke Westbeld. Dayton called timeout after Elizabeth House made an attack error to go down 9-15.
Dajah Ard Tyler Sroufe assisted their VCU teammates with key sets and digs throughout Set 4. Sroufe made a big play on a dig that followed with an assist to Neciporuka for the finish. Ard subbed in for Sroufe and kept the good assists coming for the Rams as VCU went surged ahead 22-14. Things were clicking for the Black & Gold offensively and Dayton could not stop them.
Points were racked up late by the Flyers until Gina Tuzzolo slammed the final kill for VCU. Set 4 was won by the Black & Gold 25-18 to force a 5th set tiebreaker at the Siegel Center.
Final Round. FIGHT!
Lauren Bruns and Vicky Giommarini traded kills to start the tiebreaker in Set 5. Dayton was called for a blocking error that gave Jasmin Sneed her fifth kill of the match. Sneed also assisted Adler on a team block then scored another kill to put VCU ahead 5-3.
The VCU junior held nothing back and knocked down another kill from the wing off the assist from Sroufe. Tuzzolo would keep the kills coming just after subbing in as Ard set up and Tuzzolo laid waste. VCU lead 8-5 as the teams switched sides.
Siegel Center got loud quick after Baldwin and Tuzzolo blocked Dayton yet again to stay ahead. Dayton called timeout trailing 5-10 and Tuzzolo kept that same energy with her fifth kill of the match.
THE STREAK IS ALIVE! 🙌
A Black & Gold takeover had arrived with VCU scoring 6 straight points. Neciporuka would set up the Rams with match point at 14-6. One final attacking error by Dayton gave VCU the 15-6 decision in Set 5 to win the match 3-2. VCU remain unbeaten in A-10 Play at 10-0 and keep their streak alive at 11 consecutive victories.
Vicky Giommarini was the alpha Ram versus Dayton with 19 digs and 18 kills on the night. Paula Neciporuka racked up 10 kills and Jasmin Sneed collected 8 kills and 7 total blocks. Tori Baldwin had 8 kills and 4 blocks while Gina Tuzzolo hammered 7 kills. Dajah Ard dished out 29 assists and Tyler Sroufe had 14.
Next up for VCU Volleyball is a home match at the Siegel Center versus Saint Louis on Sunday, October 28th. First serve will go up at 1 PM for this Atlantic 10 conference match.