VCU Volleyball put on a show for their lone senior Sydney Cooper on Senior Day. A true Battle of the Rams between Rhode Island and VCU had the Siegel Center rocking on Sunday afternoon all the way to a deciding fifth set when Rhode Island snapped the Rams winning streak.
VCU and Rhode Island locked horns in Set 1. Both teams traded points in the opening rallies with neither gaining a true advantage. Julia Adler jumpstarted VCU’s offense with kills while Tori Baldwin and Gina Tuzzolo defended at the net. As momentum started to go VCU’s way Rhode Island quickly regained it with a scoring run. Vicky Giommarini stepped up and got a handful kills to turn the tide VCU’s way once again. With good communication and teamwork all around, VCU was able to win Set 1 25-18.
Rhode Island established dominance in Set 2. The visiting Rams blocked, killed and rallied their way to a 5-1 lead. Giommarini attempted to stop Rhody’s momentum with a few VCU kills but Rhode Island continued rolling. Nothing VCU attempted could derail Rhode Island in Set 2 and Rhody tied things up with a 25-13 victory.
There were high hopes in Set 3 for VCU. Jasmin Sneed had two consecutive kills for VCU giving the Rams confidence. That confidence turned into frustration with numerous attacking errors putting Rhode Island in front. Madalon Simpson tried digging VCU out of trouble but some thunderous kill attempts from Rhody made things even more difficult. Even with Adler, Giommarini, and Kandler scoring kills late it was not enough to take the set. Rhode Island claimed Set 3 25-16.
In Set 4, VCU was able to turn it around. Things were highly contested in the opening points between VCU and Rhody. Rebekah Strange ignited a spark with a service ace for VCU and the rest of the Black & Gold stepped up their game. Adler got hot adding more kills alongside Giommarini. Baldwin once again provided huge blocks at the net for VCU. Rhode Island was able to tie things up at 15 but in the end, it VCU won Set 4 25-20 and forced a fifth set.
The deciding set showcased everything from VCU and Rhode Island. Adler saved a few more kills in crunch time leading VCU with 12. Giommarini had a huge day with 11 kills and two crucial blocks. In another contested battle Strange came up huge with her second service ace to notch the score at 6-6. Kandler and Tuzzolo were able to give VCU breathing room with two straight kills and an 8-7 lead as the teams switched sides. Rhody had the advantage at 14-13 until Giommarini made a golden kill that was deflected to tie it up at 14. Rhode Island made quick work off of an attack error by Kandler followed by the game winning kill by Layne Self to win Set 5 16-14.
A heartbreaking stop to VCU’s four-match winning streak as the Rams fall to 7-4 in Atlantic 10 play.
VCU Volleyball starts a three-match road trip to close out the 2016-17 season. Their first stop is on Saturday, November 5th at Davidson play beginning at 2 PM.
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