RAMS BATTLE BACK TO ADVANCE TO A-10 SEMIS

Atlantic 10 Conference Quarterfinals
Score: VCU 3, Duquesne 1 (20-25, 30-28, 25-23, 25-22)
Location: St. Louis, Mo. (Chaifetz Pavilion)
Records: VCU 19-13, Duquesne 18-12 

The short story: Freshman Jasmin Sneed led a dominant VCU defensive effort with 11 blocks and provided 12 kills to lead the fifth-seeded Rams past fourth-seeded Duquesne in the Atlantic 10 Conference Quarterfinals Friday at Chaifetz Pavilion. With the win, VCU advances to the A-10 Semifinals Saturday against top-seeded and 22nd-ranked Dayton.

OPENING VOLLEY
  • Sneed, who was named to the A-10's All-Rookie Team on Thursday, hit .364 and provided the backbone of a VCU defense that produced 16 blocks. It's the second time this season Sneed has topped double digits in blocks.
  • Fellow freshman and All-Rookie Team member Vicky Giommarini spiked a team-high 13 kills and hit .273. She also provided 10 digs.
  • Sophomore middle Tori Baldwin hit .583 with nine kills and four blocks for the Black and Gold, while classmate Julia Adler filled up the stat sheet with nine kills and eight blocks.
  • On the back line, junior libero Rebekah Strange gave VCU 12 digs and served up a pair of aces.
  • The Rams won despite 15 kills apiece from Duquesne's Madelynn Burnham and Abbie Trzeciak.
THE DIFFERENCE
  • VCU's blocking helped tip the scales in the match. The Rams outblocked the Dukes 16-6. The Black and Gold also served up seven aces.
  • The Rams hit .236 in the match, a shade better than Duquesne's .220.
  • VCU dropped the first set, but swung the match with a marathon 30-28 win in the second. The Rams withstood set point three times before getting a kill by freshman Gina Tuzzolo and a double block by Sneed and Adler to snap a 28-all tie.
  • From there, VCU got rolling. The Rams built a 13-6 lead in the third set. Duquesne rallied to grab a 21-20 lead, but the Rams scored three of the final four points, including a pair of kills by Alica Kandler, to take a 25-23 victory.
  • In the clincher, VCU fought back from a 15-12 deficit with a 7-3 run that included a kill and a block by Sneed, to assume command at 20-18. Sneed capped the win with a service ace at match point.
QUOTABLE
"It was nerve-racking, but we fought, and we battled. I think if we played that match ealier in the year we don't win. Vicky Giommarini played really well and so did Jasmin Sneed. Tori Baldwin was on point, and the setters did a nice job balancing the offense. We just blocked great. We did come a little sluggish out of the gate, and we can't do that tomorrow. They know that. But this was a great team win. They were resilient. The teams that advance are the ones that battle." – VCU Coach Jody Rogers.
 
WHAT'S NEXT
VCU will face defending champion Dayton at 8:30 p.m. (Eastern) at Chaifetz Pavilion. The Rams have dropped  a pair of matches to the Flyers this season. 
RAMS FALL AT SAINT LOUIS 3-0
November 11, 2016 RAMS FALL AT SAINT LOUIS 3-0
VCU BLOCKS FORDHAM 3-0
October 28, 2016 VCU BLOCKS FORDHAM 3-0
TOWSON SNAPS VCU WIN STREAK 3-1
September 20, 2016 TOWSON SNAPS VCU WIN STREAK 3-1