RICHMOND, Va. – They're in.
Juniors Jasmine Waters (Landover, Md.) and Kristin Boyd (Wilmington, N.C.) combined for 23 kills and senior Courtney Hott (Fredericksburg, Va.) recorded 11 blocks as Virginia Commonwealth University clinched a Colonial Athletic Association Tournament bid with a 3-1 (25-19, 17-25, 25-16, 25-22) win over Georgia State Saturday at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
VCU, which avenged a 3-0 loss to the Panthers Sept. 30 in Atlanta, has won five of its last six matches to improve to 14-15 overall and 7-6 in the CAA. Georgia State is 13-16 overall and 7-5 in the CAA.
The Rams are currently seeded sixth, half a game behind the Panthers. VCU has one conference match remaining, while Georgia State will play two more league matches. The Rams still have a mathematical shot to climb as high as fourth.
One night after blocking sparked a victory over UNC Wilmington, the Rams used 17.5 rejections to fend off GSU. VCU recorded 7.5 blocks in the fourth set alone.
Hott led the way again up front and closed out arguably the finest week of her VCU career. In three matches this week, all Ram victories, Hott averaged 2.31 blocks per set. She also provided seven kills on Saturday. With 30 blocks this week, she climbed to seventh on VCU's single-season list with 129. The record is 157, set by Kelsie Clegg in 2009.
Boyd, who is closing in on 900 career kills, mashed 12 more Saturday. She hit .360 for the match and committed just three hitting errors in 25 swings. Waters was nearly as good, hitting .333 with 11 kills and four blocks.
Senior Amanda Friday (Springfield, Va.) enjoyed a breakout performance on the back row for the Black and Gold. The University of Tennessee transfer supplied a season-high 27 digs, while junior Marisa Low (Carlsbad, Calif.) added 15. Freshman setter Cecilia Aragao (Recife, Brazil) set 46 assists and recorded seven blocks, seven digs and five kills.
The Rams hit .273 on the evening, while Georgia State hit .122. In addition to out-blocking the Panthers, 17.5 to 5.0, VCU out-dug GSU, 74-61.
Vineece Verdun was one of few bright spots for the Panthers, hitting .438 with a match-high 16 kills. Jamiee Freeman and Emily Averbeck dug 16 balls each for GSU.
VCU returns to the floor on Thursday, Nov. 10 when it hosts William & Mary at 7 p.m. at the Verizon Wireless Arena.