Tuzzolo’s 17 kills lead Rams to regular season title

Photo by Jon Mirador.

Noah Fleischman 
Staff Writer 

Volleyball finished the regular season on a high note as it took down Davidson 3-0 Saturday afternoon at the Siegel Center.

On the Rams’ senior day, the seven juniors got the job done as they combined for 26 kills, 30 assists and four service aces. Junior opposite hitter Gina Tuzzolo led VCU with a season-high 17 kills in the win.  

“She’s been the unsung hero all season,” coach Jody Rogers said of Tuzzolo. “She just does her job day-in, day-out and I couldn’t be happier for her. This is nothing new with her, she does a lot of great things on the court and the girls rally around her. She’s an integral part to our roster.”

VCU came off its first Atlantic 10 loss of the season, falling 3-0 to George Mason Nov. 3.

“We needed that [loss]. We needed to get our feelings hurt a little bit,” Rogers said. “We came back and we really worked hard this past week in practice. We re-evaluated what we needed to work on as a unit, so they came out really strong today.”

The Rams opened the first set with five consecutive points, including three aces in a row from sophomore outside hitter Paula Neciporuka. VCU strung together another five points in the set to pull away from the Wildcats. The Rams took the first set 25-16.

Neciporuka finished with three kills, one assist and three service aces.

Davidson came out firing in the second set as it took an early 3-1 lead on the Rams. VCU answered the Wildcats’ strong start by scoring five points in a row with two aces from junior outside hitter Vicky Giommarini.

The Wildcats looked like they would claw their way back into the set as they got within two points, but the Rams responded. VCU took another five points from Davidson to go up six in the set. The Black and Gold took the set 25-18 to go up 2-0 in the match.

VCU trailed by as many as five points in the final set, but the Rams used a mid-set surge to win 25-20.

Senior middle blocker Tori Baldwin finished with four kills and four blocks in the win.

“It was great, Davidson’s a good team,” Baldwin said. “I know we had to win this game and beat this team to be regular season champs, so to win here against a good team is fun.”

Junior middle blocker Jasmin Sneed added eight more blocks to her season total — she now has 163 blocks this season and 489 in her career.

The victory clinched the regular season A-10 title for the Rams after they finished the campaign with a conference record of 13-1.

“They wanted some energy and to come out really strong before the end of the season, just because we are going to have to start preparing for the Atlantic-10 [Tournament],” Rogers said. “They really wanted this. We got the Atlantic-10 regular season championship, so that was a huge goal for us throughout the season. When you attain goals you kind of get excited, they did that today.”

The Rams will be back in action Saturday at 1 p.m. in the A-10 Tournament at the Siegel Center against the winner of No. 4 George Mason vs. No. 5 St. Louis match.

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