The road was not too kind to VCU Volleyball up in Blacksburg. Virginia Tech recently lost their first game of the season that broke an 8 match winning streak. VA Tech was able to get back into a groove against the Rams while Tori Baldwin created Black & Gold history at the net.
A Historic Baldwin Block
Baldwin got VCU started right with the opening kill but Virginia Tech quickly regained ground. The Hokies scored the next 6 consecutive points off of 4 straight kills, a team block and an attacking error by Jasmin Sneed. VCU would reset after Coach Jody Rogers called timeout with a team block by Sneed and Gina Tuzzolo.
VCU got to work at the net thanks to Vicky Giommarini and Paula Neciporuka upping the team’s kill tally. As those two Rams collected the kills, Baldwin and Tuzzolo halted the Hokies at the net to cut the deficit down to size. Baldwin became VCU’s all-time leader in blocks for the program with her 4️⃣3️⃣5️⃣th career block in Set 1.
The Rams got the score down to 10-15 however VA Tech was just too strong offensively. Virginia Tech ended the opening Set with a kill, ace, kill trifecta to win it 25-16. 15 kills were made by the Hokies and VCU had 7 attacking errors.
Grounded By Errors
Set 2 started with VCU going up 6-2 thanks to kills from Baldwin, Giommarini, and Tuzzolo. VA Tech countered with 3 straight kills to bring down VCU’s lead to a single point. Both teams traded rallies and points as the score got locked up at 10-10.
Momentum ran with the Hokies for a 4-0 scoring run. Julia Adler made 2 consecutive attacking errors and Jalia Tolbert knocked down 2 straight kills for VA Tech. Neciporuka and Giommarini brought the Rams back into the set however the home team once again had the hot hand.
Iro Chounta scored VCU’s final kill of the set which was followed by the game-winning kill by Kaity Smith for the Hokies. VA Tech went up 2-0 after taking Set 2 25-18. VCU had a hitting percentage of .135 compared to VA Tech’s .333.
Hokies Defend Home Court
In a must-win scenario, VCU brought out everything in their arsenal to start Set 3. Baldwin got things going with the opening kill followed by another one by Tuzzolo. Giommarini would smash a pair of kills and Tuzzolo sweetened the deal with a service ace. Up 5-1, the Rams would keep on, keeping on with Giommarini getting another kill and a service ace to go up 8-3.
As Set 3 continued, the Rams would add to their lead at 11-7. Attacking errors would hurt VCU once again as VA Tech made a 4-0 run to tie the set 11-11. Both teams traded kill after kill and the Hokies would squeak out to a 20-19 advantage looking for the sweep in Blacksburg.
Kaity Smith made an impact in the final moments. Smith followed up a kill with a team block alongside Kai Young to put Tech up 22-19. Even with Baldwin and Giommarini getting another kill each, an attacking error by VCU gave the Hokies’ match point. Young stepped up one more time with Ester Talamazzi to deny Tuzzolo with the final block of the match. Virginia Tech won Set 3 25-21 to collect the 3-0 sweep over VCU.
Stats & Next Up Stuff!
Vicky Giommarini led the Rams with 15 kills, 9 digs, and a service ace. Gina Tuzzolo collected 10 kills and 3 assists. VCU made 24 attacking errors against the Hokies. VCU fell to 4-7 overall.
Coming up for VCU Volleyball is the VCU Invitational at the Siegel Center. The Rams begin the invitational against Virginia on Friday, September 14th at 7 PM inside the Siegel Center.