RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia Commonwealth University was dominant at the net Friday, recording a season-high 18.5 blocks to spark a 3-1 (25-21, 20-25, 25-15, 25-16) victory over UNC Wilmington at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
The Rams' win, combined with Hofstra's loss at Delaware Friday, strengthened VCU's hold on the sixth and final Colonial Athletic Association Tournament spot. The Rams are 13-15 overall and 6-6 in the CAA. They have two conference matches remaining. Hofstra and UNCW are tied for seventh with a 4-7 league mark.
The Rams have won 14 straight and 23 of 25 in their series with UNCW. VCU's last loss in the series came during the 2003 season, and the Black and Gold has not dropped a home match to the Seahawks since 2001.
VCU turned up its blocking as the match moved forward. The Rams recorded 3.0 blocks in the first, 4.0 in the second, 5.5 in the third and 6.0 in the final frame. The 18.5 blocks are the most by VCU since a 20.0 block effort on Nov. 6, 2010 in a five-set victory over Towson. The last time the Rams were credited with that many blocks in a match shorter than five sets was when they collected 18.5 against William & Mary on Sept. 27, 2006.
Senior Courtney Hott (Fredericksburg, Va.) led the way. The 6-foot-2 middle blocker crippled the Seahawks with 12 total blocks, a career-high. She also hit .421 with 11 kills.
It's been an eventful week for Hott on the defensive end. On Tuesday, she was party to three straight blocks as VCU staved off two potential match points in the fourth set on the way to a 3-2, come-from-behind win at Wake Forest.
Hott wasn't alone. In all, four players recorded five or more rejections. Freshman setter Cecilia Aragao (Recife, Brazil) was in on seven blocks, in addition to her 39 assists and six digs. Junior Jasmine Waters (Landover, Md.) had eight kills, seven blocks and hit .400.
VCU's blocking prowess made life difficult for UNCW hitters. The Seahawks hit .082 for the match, including -.081 and .086 in the third and fourth sets, respectively. The Rams hit .192.
Courtney Porter led the Seahawks with 12 kills.
In the midst of a four-game homestand to close the regular season, VCU welcomes Georgia State to the Verizon Wireless Arena on Saturday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. The Panthers defeated the Rams 3-0 on Sept. 30 in Atlanta.