Volleyball (27-2, 13-0 A-10) hosted the University of Dayton Flyers (19-7, 10-1 A-10) on Sunday, Oct. 29 in a showdown for conference supremacy between the two premiere powers the A-10 has to offer. The Rams hit the road on Friday, Nov. 3 to face off against the La Salle University Explorers (13-15, 3-9 A-10) before heading down to Duquesne University (12-14, 7-5 A-10) on Sunday, Nov. 5.
The Rams faced the fourth place Duquesne Dukes at their house and managed a 3-1 win after tight third and fourth sets. Duquesne and the Rams both put up decent stats and the deciding factor for VCU was blocking.
The Black and Gold managed 14 blocks to only 4 from the Dukes. Sophomore opposite hitter Gina Tuzzolo put up an impressive 14 kills and 4 blocks. Senior outside hitter Alicia Kandler and junior middle blocker Tori Baldwin continued to accel with a combined 18 kills and 9 blocks.
Sophomore outside hitter Vicky Giommarini aided in the kills tally with 11 on the match, while sophomore middle blocker Jasmine Sneed matched Baldwin with seven blocks.
VCU slacked in the third set with only 13 kills to Duquesne’s 16, while getting seven errors and no blocks. The Dukes took the set 25-21. A few attack errors by Duquesne and and a kill from junior opposite hitter Julia Adler gave the Rams the fourth set and the match. The victory gives the Rams 24 wins in a row, the longest active streak in collegiate volleyball.
After a tough game against the second place Dayton Flyers, volleyball breezed through La Salle with a 3-0 win.
The Rams did not exactly ease through in the second set, however, as they were pushed past 25 and narrowly won the set 26-24 after a Kandler kill and Explorer attack error.
Kandler and Baldwin came out with good numbers with .765 and .455 hitting percentages, respectively. A combined 20 kills and 2 blocks pushed the Rams to their 23rd win.
Sophomore setters Dajah Ard and Tyler Sroufe combined for 36 aces. The Rams have swept 11 of their 12 A-10 matches.
The Black and Gold put their 22-game win streak on the line against the Dayton Flyers and came out on top 3-2, breaking the Flyers’ Atlantic 10 regular season win streak of 45 matches.
Despite VCU having more kills, Dayton’s higher hitting percentage and less errors let them take the first set. The game stayed pretty even with steady back and forth from the Flyers and Rams, so it came down to a tight fifth set.
VCU gave their best performance with a .435 hitting percentage and 11 kills to 1 error. Adler and Tuzzolo got six kills together, pushing the Rams past their A-10 rivals.
Kandler recorded a match-high 17 kills. The real factor that put the Rams over the top was their blocking. VCU’s 18 to Dayton’s 11.5 blocks kept the Flyers to a .139 hitting percentage — their lowest in A-10 play this season.
With the win, the Rams have a strong hold an outright regular season Atlantic 10 Championship.
VCU hosts Davidson College (10-15, 3-9 A-10) on Saturday, Nov. 11 for their last regular season game.
Daniel Puryear, Contributing Writer