November 23, 2013

VCU Sweeps George Washington on way to A-10 Championship

ATLANTIC 10 CHAMPIONSHIP SEMIFINALS
Scores:
#2 VCU 3, #3 George Washington 0 (27-25, 25-19, 25-18)
Location:
Washington, D.C. (Charles E. Smith Center – George Washington University)
Records:
VCU 25-7, George Washington 16-13

CHAMPIONSHIP BOUND
  • Juniors Amanda Love and Janelle Sykes anchored a stout defensive effort as VCU swept host and third-seeded George Washington Saturday to advance to the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship Match.
  • The second-seeded Rams will meet top-seeded Duquesne at 1 p.m. at George Washington's Charles E. Smith Center. Duquesne defeated defending champion Dayton 3-1 in Saturday's other semifinal. VCU and Duquesne split a pair of meetings this season, with each team winning on the other's home floor. 
  • VCU will be seeking its fourth conference championship. The Rams won Sun Belt titles in 1984 and 1985, as well as a Colonial Athletic Association crown in 2005.
QUOTABLES FROM COACH ROGERS
  • "This started at practice this week. I applied pressure. We were aggressive in practice. Not only just skill-wise, but me, verbally as a coach, had to get really into them, and they responded great. We had a great week of practice where we communicated and did a lot of great things. I think they were really upset about Friday's match with Duquesne and now they're ready to go. So, it's just a communication thing and everybody doing their job, and that's what they did tonight. Everybody did their job and came in and contributed."
  • "I know that Duquesne is a very good team. If we come in and do the things we do well, we should be really successful tomorrow."
  • "I think it's awesome to be able to play for a championship, and these girls, they need to embrace that. They worked hard for this. This is all them, and tomorrow's going to be another one for all them, that they just have to do their jobs and not worry about all their stuff and just control what we can control, and that's our effort and our attitude and if it's on point, we're going to be great tomorrow."
TALKING POINTS
  • VCU limited George Washington to a .065 hitting percentage. The Rams recorded 13.5 blocks on the night, including 10 in the first two sets alone. Sykes led the way with seven blocks, while sophomore Uzoamaka Ibeh – celebrating her 21st birthday – and freshman Nora Reed booked five each.
  • On the back row, Love was VCU's catalyst. The 2013 A-10 Libero of the Year registered 23 of VCU's 46 digs. Conference Player of the Year Romana Kriskova added eight digs and ripped nine kills.
  • Offensively, sophomore Kalah Jones blasted 11 kills and hit .333. Sykes, capped her all-around effort with seven kills on 14 swings. She did not record an error.

KEY MOMENTS

  • The first set was a wild one, and featured 14 ties and four lead changes. George Washington jumped out to an 8-7 lead, but VCU used a 9-1 burst to move ahead 16-9. The Colonials stormed back to within set point at 25-24. VCU, however, had a final answer. Jones and Reed sandwiched a pair of double blocks around a GW service error to give the Rams a 27-25 win.
  • In the second set, the Colonials stormed out of the gate to a 3-0 edge, then watched VCU rip off 10 of the next 11 points. The Rams were never seriously threatened again.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
  • This will be VCU's fifth appearance in a conference championship match since 2005.
  • Sykes moved within five blocks of the school single-season record of 172. She'll enter Sunday's match with 168 rejections this season.
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