Arrick Wilson, Interim Sports Editor
Last season, the VCU women’s volleyball squad ended their season with a record of 13 wins and only five losses. The Rams also garnered an Atlantic-10 record of seven wins and two losses, reaching the Atlantic-10 championship. This season, the Rams have repeated the success from last year.
On Saturday, the women’s volleyball team ended their regular season with a record of 18 wins and 11 losses and an A-10 conference record of 13 wins and only three losses. The Rams ended their season strong with a seven-game winning streak against teams across the A-10 conference, including Duquesne, Davidson twice over, Rhode Island, Fordham, George Washington and George Mason.
“We’re second in the conference and we have potential to, you know, win a championship going into a tournament. Our kids are just getting better in the gym, being able to handle uncomfortable situations,” said head coach Jody Rogers
Individual success came along with team success for many Rams. More recently, the Rams earned A-10 volleyball weekly honors for matches played Nov. 9-14, according to the A-10 website. Senior outside hitter Jovana Vukcevic won Player of the Week A-10 honors two weeks in a row. Freshman outside hitter Kialah Jefferson was also named Rookie of the Week for the first time this season. Freshman setter Katrina Davis also won Rookie of the Week A-10 honors for games played Nov. 1-7, her third time earning the award this season.
“It feels really good. Especially being a freshman. I’m really honored to receive that … I couldn’t do without my team,” Davis said.
Davis has also led the Rams in assists with 487 on the season, according to VCU Athletics.
“She’s [Davis] resilient and she can handle pressure, and she’s executing in pressure situations. So for freshmen to respond that way is pretty amazing,” Rogers said. “I’m excited to see how she grows over the next, you know, three years with VCU volleyball.”
Another player who has had some individual success is middle blocker Jasmine Knight. The sophomore received the A-10 conference Player of the Week award for games played Oct. 25-31. Knight is third for the Rams in kills with 264, and second in the A-10 in hitting percentage with 0.338%. Knight also leads the Rams in points with 326.
“She’s [Knight] been able to make people feel, you know, that there’s a value in what they’re doing, and that you make them feel comfortable that they can work together as one, so she’s doing a great job with that piece,” Rogers said.
The Rams made it to the A-10 tournament finals last year, but lost to the No. 1 seed, the Dayton Flyers. The loss still stings for players like Knight, who said the loss served to drive the team forward this season.
“It was so much motivation. Like I had a chip on my shoulder, as well as like other people on the team, being that we want to win again this year. So it’s just like, wanting to beat Dayton in the finals is something that we really want to achieve,” Knight said.
The loss from last year’s championship was also motivation for Rogers, as the Rams will attempt to defeat the thrice-straight A-10 champion Dayton in the upcoming A-10 tournament. The Rams have been runner-ups for the A-10 championship three consecutive times, all against Dayton, according to the A-10 record book.
“It was definitely motivation, and always is when you fail to win the championship and everybody wants to, you know, have that feeling again,” Rogers said.
The Rams will begin the fight to claim their second A-10 tournament championship title on Nov. 20, in the A-10 semifinals. For now, Rogers is focused on the team gradually becoming better both mentally and physically.
“I think as long as we’re moving in the right direction, and playing better and being stronger and being emotionally intelligent, and which where we need to be at to win a championship … that’s where I get my joy from,” Rogers said.
The Rams start their postseason in the semifinals of the A-10 tournament on Nov. 20 at 4 p.m. versus the winner of Match 2 in the quarterfinals, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The game will be televised on ESPN+. For ticket information, visit vcuathletics.com.