Following a see-saw battle with CAA foe Towson through the first four sets, Kristin Boyd and the VCU volleyball team decided they were not going to let themselves lose this time.
Boyd, who set a new career high with 18 kills, along with 5 digs and 4 blocks, singlehandedly took over the match in the tiebreaking fifth set as VCU rallied to victory. She opened the final set finishing three of the Rams’ first five points with a trio of equally emphatic kills. Behind that momentum, VCU jumped out to a 7-0 lead and went on to win the deciding set 15-5.
“I just really wanted this win,” Boyd said. “I felt like my team really needed me, so I had to step and just go hard.”
VCU’s late rally actually began in the fourth set, which they entered trailing 2-1 after dropping the second and third sets. The Rams handled the visiting Tigers 25-22 in the first set before losing a lot of steam midway through the second.
After VCU maintained a comfortable five-point lead for most of the second set, Towson came roaring back and took their first lead at 17-16. Despite allowing the Rams to tie things up three separate times from that point, Towson hung on and took the set 25-23.
The third set was a completely dominated by Towson as well – the Tigers hit an unprecedented .430 and took the set 25-13, nearly doubling up the Rams who had absolutely no answers. Katy Buck and Alysha McCreary led the surge for Towson, and were absolutely unstoppable at times up front. Buck and McCreary tied for a team high 16 kills on the evening.
After seeing their playoff hopes begin to slip away before their eyes, the Rams quickly turned things around late in the match, taking the fourth set 25-20. Alongside more inspired play from Boyd, Mariel Frey was a force in the fourth, filling up the stat sheet with a large chunk of her 10 kills, 13 digs and 6 blocks. Freshman Ciara Brown also had a big night, racking up 31 assists and 14 digs as VCU mounted a crucial comeback win.
“We realized that a loss here would be crucial and would really put us in a bad situation,” senior Kelsie Clegg said. “Having the urgency of them winning two straight games made it that much more important for us.”
The win over Towson, who drops to 2-10 in the CAA, puts VCU (9-4) in prime position to grab a spot in the Conference tournament. The Rams continue to control their own postseason destiny, as a win over William & Mary on Nov. 12 will guarantee them one of the four slots in the tournament.
“The team is really excited,” head coach James Finley said. “They know that all the work we did, whether we lost or not, helped get us where we’re at today. The girls are really confident, and they’re excited about having William & Mary here on Friday.”
The Rams host William & Mary at the Siegel Center Friday at 4:00 P.M in their final CAA regular season match.
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