Nearing season’s end, volleyball in control of A-10

Freshman Rebekah Cazares recorded 11 digs in VCU’s 2-3 loss at George Washington. Photo by Chris Conway.

Bobby Gary 
Contributing Writer

With a 3-0 win over George Mason University on Oct. 18, the VCU volleyball team claimed its eighth victory in nine matches, improving its record to 18-5 on the year.

The Lady Rams are now 6-1 in Atlantic 10 play.

VCU got off to a quick start and never trailed the Patriots this past Friday. Junior outside hitter Romana Kriskova continued her dominant campaign with 18 kills and six aces in a clean sweep of GMU.

The victory came six days after George Washington University snapped the Lady Rams’ seven-match win streak.

George Washington’s streak-snapping victory came just eight days after losing to the Rams 3-0 at the Siegel Center on Oct. 4.

VCU took the opening set of the grudge match against the Colonials on Oct. 12, marking their fourth consecutive set win over GW. But soon the Rams found themselves down 2-1 and they were facing a hole in the fourth set.

Once again, the team rallied behind the offensive firepower of Kriskova, who registered six kills in the fourth set alone. Junior middle blocker Janelle Sykes also chipped in with four kills in the set.

In the tiebreaking fifth set, head coach Jody Rogers’ club scored the opening point but could not stop the Colonials’ 12-point run, which included four blocks that stifled VCU’s offensive flow. Seven VCU hitting errors in the tiebreaking set allowed George Washington to win the match.

Rogers provided a mixed reaction after the loss.

“Romana had a good game as always, and Janelle had a pretty good match,” she told VCU athletics. “We just couldn’t catch up, they had their A-game and we had our B-minus-game, and they beat us.”

Even with the loss, the Lady Rams remained in sole possession of first place in the A-10. The team is 7-3 in five-set matches this season.

Kriskova’s outstanding performances this past week, including 22 kills and 16 digs against George Washington, earned her the A-10 offensive player of the week award. The honor was her third this season.

Kriskova is now ranked seventh in the nation in kills per set and fourth in points per set. Her 2013 campaign ranks sixth for kills in a single season by a Ram and only trails fifth place Kristin Boyd by 13.

A VCU player has now claimed the A-10 offensive player of the week award five weeks in a row.

Kriskova’s counterpart Janelle Sykes earned A-10 defensive player of the week, her second this season. The honor follows Sykes’ eight-block performance at George Washington, which brought her average this season to 1.35 blocks per set, the 25th-best mark in the nation.

The Rams are 5-1 without junior setter Cecilia Aragao, who suffered a season ending knee injury in the Hampton match on Oct. 2. Redshirt freshman Kaitlyn LaMantia has come off the bench to fill the gap, including a performance against George Washington where she registered 43 assists, six blocks and 14 digs.

The Rams look ahead to a home match against former CAA foe William & Mary on Oct. 25 before hitting the road for two back-to-back conference games against Fordham and Rhode Island.

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