Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor
Volleyball swept NC State 3-0 in the first match of the VCU Invitational on Thursday night behind senior middle blocker Jasmin Sneed’s nine blocks.
“They came out ready and prepared,” coach Jody Rogers said. “When you’re prepared, you feel good, and they felt good about themselves and they kind of kept [NC State] on edge all night.”
The Rams set the tone early when senior middle blocker Gina Tuzzolo and Sneed combined for four blocks in the first four points of the match.
VCU forced NC State to call an early timeout after the Rams went on a 4-1 scoring run, extending the black and gold’s lead to five.
The Rams closed the first set, outscoring NC State 12-2 to take the first point of the match.
“I [saw] them stepping on people’s throats, and when they see blood in the water, they go after it,” Rogers said of the scoring run. “And I love that aggression, I love what they’re doing as a team.”
Senior opposite hitter Vicky Giommarini led the Rams with five kills in the first set, including the set point kill to earn VCU the first point. The Rome native hit a perfect 5-for-5 in the opening set.
Giommarini finished the night with 10 kills and four blocks.
The Rams and Wolfpack played a much closer second set, which they tied nine times, before VCU took the lead halfway through.
Redshirt-senior middle blocker Kat Young sparked a Rams run to take the lead as she combined with Sneed to pull ahead by one. Young then logged two more kills in a row, forcing NC State to call a timeout.
“She’s just been a spark plug for us in any way,” Rogers said. “She’s just exciting to play with. You see she’s emotional on the court, she brings out in other players”
Sneed closed the set for the Rams with three kills and one block, giving VCU the second set.
The third set played out similarly to the previous, as the Rams and Wolfpack remained within two points of each other.
VCU fell behind 21-23 in the third set before redshirt-senior middle blocker Jaelyn Jackson and Young combined for a block and kill at the net to tie the set.
Jackson logged a kill on the next point, and Young closed the door on the Wolfpack with a block for the final point. Young and Jackson combined for 14 kills and 11 blocks.
The Rams are back in action hosting Alabama on Friday at 6 p.m.