One hour. That’s how long it took the VCU women’s volleyball team to respond in dominating fashion to the group’s six-game winning streak being halted.
On Friday, Oct. 10, the Lady Rams shut out La Salle University 3-0, winning the first two sets 25-9, and the last set 25-15. VCU hit a season-high of .392, hitting .632 in the first set alone. The team only committed nine attacking errors all match. Senior middle blocker Janelle Sykes and freshman outside hitter Jessica Young recorded eights kills. Senior setter and captain Cecilia Aragao’s 24 assists helped her surpass the 3,500 assist mark in the game.
“(Our stategy is to) come out with a lot of intensity and focus on our side and improve,” Sykes said. “Don’t let up, always run with a fast pace offense.
Prior to the Lady Rams’ shutout, their six-game winning streak came to an end Oct. 5 against University of Dayton, in a 3-1 loss.
“The will to win was there,” Aragao said. “But our bodies and our minds were tired.”
The Lady Rams may not have come away with the win, but Sykes left the game with 11 kills and was credited with six blocks, working her way to her preseason goal.
“I wanted to round out my game,” Sykes said. “I wanted to be more of an offensive threat, I was more of a defensive threat last year. I want to keep getting better and getting more kills each game. I want to contribute to my team and doing that in the best way I can.”
As exciting as a six-game winning streak can be, Aragao and Sykes, concur the team didn’t get caught up in it. Although losing was upsetting to the girls, Aragao and Sykes agree that a loss is a loss and what’s important now is to focus on the week ahead.
“One thing our team does is we don’t get complacent,” Sykes said. “Every game our coach is harping on ‘we’re 0-0’ and the captains, and myself, are always reminding the girls ‘we’re 0-0’. We never put it in our minds we’re on a winning streak.”
Still, the “non-streaking” Rams are 4-0 at home this season.