RAMS BATTLE, BUT DROP PAIR TO RANKED KENTUCKY, FLORIDA STATE

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Senior Mariel Frey (Lititz, Pa.) averaged 2.86 kills in two matches and sophomore libero Marisa Low (Carlsbad, Calif.) provided 3.71 digs, but Virginia Commonwealth University couldn't overcome No. 16 Kentucky and No. 17 Florida State in 3-0 and 3-1 losses, respectively, Saturday at UK's Memorial Coliseum.

"We have made a ton of progress, but just couldn't finish today," said VCU Head Coach James Finley. "We played a lot better. We came from behind to beat Florida State in game two. There were moments of greatness. We're just continually growing and playing on a higher level than last week and the week before."
 
The Rams (1-9) have already played four teams ranked in the AVCA Coaches 25 Poll this season, including three-time defending national champion Penn State. VCU has played eight matches against "BCS Conference" schools.
 
Junior Jessica Ojukwu (Sao Paulo, Brazil) was named to the University of Kentucky Invitational All-Tournament Team after recording an average of 2.40 kills and 2.20 digs per set in three matches.
 
Here is a recap of each match:
 
Match 1: #16 Kentucky 3, VCU 0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-17)

Ojukwu blasted a team-high nine kills and Low dug 13 balls, but the host Wildcats held on for the win. VCU's .202 hitting percentage for the match was its highest of the weekend, but wasn't enough to overcome Kentucky, which hit .316.
 
Freshman setter Ciara Brown (Fort Myers, Fla.) handed out 25 assists and was credited with 11 digs, while sophomore Kristin Boyd (Wilmington, N.C.) added six kills and hit .357 for the Rams.
 
Three Wildcats had 10 kills apiece, including Whitney Billings, who also collected three total blocks.
 
VCU trailed, 24-19 in the second set, but pulled within 24-23 after a double block by Boyd and junior Courtney Hott (Fredericksburg, Va.), followed by a Ojukwu kill and a Low service ace. However, Kentucky's Lauren Rapp halted the rally with a kill to give the Wildcats a 25-23 victory.
 

Match 2: #17 Florida State 3, VCU 1 (25-18, 26-28, 25-15, 25-18)

The Rams put a dent in the 8-1 Seminoles with a victory in the second set, but couldn't get any closer.
 
Frey hammered 13 kills and added 10 digs and four blocks for the Black and Gold. Senior Kelsie Clegg (Boise, Idaho) tacked on six kills and six blocks for the Rams.
 
FSU's Stephanie Neville was nearly flawless, registering 16 kills and a .571 hitting percentage. She did not commit a hitting error.
 
VCU jolted Florida State in the second set, when the Rams rode six kills each by Frey and Boyd to a 28-26 victory. VCU hit .389 in the frame and was credited with 4.5 blocks.
 
The Rams used a 7-3 burst late in the set, fueled by three Boyd kills, to pull even at 24-24. At 26-26, Frey blocked Marija Milosavljevic for a 27-26 advantage. On the ensuing play, she spiked a kill to complete the comeback.
 
Florida State steadied itself, hitting .333 and .289 on sets three and four, respectively, to earn the Seminoles a 3-1 win.
 
VCU returns to action on Tuesday, Sept. 14, when the Rams host Georgetown at the Verizon Wireless Arena at 7 p.m.
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