Blocks lead VCU volleyball over La Salle in A-10 opener

Redshirt-senior middle blocker Jaelyn Jackson logged 10 kills against La Salle. Photo by Sam Musselman

Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor

After winning the first two sets and dropping the following two, volleyball surged back to knock off La Salle 3-2 in five sets Friday night at the Siegel Center. 

The duo of senior middle blocker Jasmin Sneed and redshirt-senior middle blocker Kat Young helped turn the tide in the fifth set with back-to-back blocks. 

Sneed finished the night with nine kills and 12 blocks. 

Senior outside hitter Vicky Giommarini ended the match with a kill, her 12th of the night and 995th of her career. 

The Rams outblocked La Salle 17-8, despite the sloppy play midway through the match with 25 attack errors on the night. 

“We just really need to do a better job of executing more in pressure situations,” coach Jody Rogers said. “We didn’t do so great at that, and there were multiple times where people weren’t doing their job. It was a win, but it was ugly.”

Friday night was the Rams’ fourth five-set match of the season and their third five-setter win. 

“In the fifth set I want to throw up, so I can only imagine what they’re feeling like,” Rogers said. “There’s a lot of emotions, and you can’t play with emotion. You have to play with a mindset of executing and doing your job.”

The first set was back and forth between the explorers and the Rams until VCU used a 3-0 scoring run to build a lead. 

Moments later, the Rams’ lead doubled as VCU used back-to-back blocks and kills from junior outside Paula Neciporuka and Sneed. 

Neciporuka sealed the first set for the Rams with a kill, bringing the Siegel Center to life. VCU took the opening set 25-23.

In the second set, Jackson sparked the Rams with four kills in a 6-point span, putting VCU in front by one. 

The Rams didn’t look back after that, pulling away to win the set 25-15. Senior setter Dajah Ard logged back-to-back aces in the set. 

The third set remained close throughout, with the Rams holding their largest lead at four. 

La Salle outscored VCU 7-1 to take a 2-point lead late in the set, forcing Rogers to call a time-out. The Explorers used a 5-2 scoring run to close the set.

Neciporuka logged a kill and an ace to pull the Rams within 2 points of La Salle, but it wasn’t enough. The Explorers took the set 25-23. 

The Rams trailed for most of the fourth set, as La Salle held a lead as large as nine. 

VCU showed some life midway through the set, going on a 3-0 scoring run to pull within four. But La Salle won the set 25-16. 

The Rams maintained control for most of the fifth set, going on a 3-0 scoring run to extend their lead to five, 13-8. VCU took the final set 15-10. 

The Rams will be back in action Sunday as they host Duquesne at 1 p.m.

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