November 20, 2010

TOP-SEEDED DELAWARE HOLDS OFF VCU IN CAA SEMIFINAL

NEWARK, Del. – Junior Jessica Ojukwu (Sao Paulo, Brazil) provided 13 kills and 14 digs for Virginia Commonwealth University, but top-seeded Delaware proved too strong, holding on for a 3-1 (26-24, 25-16, 20-25, 25-16) win Saturday in a the Colonial Athletic Association semifinal at Barb Viera Court at the Carpenter Sports Building.

The Blue Hens, winners of 13 straight matches, advance to the CAA Championship final Sunday against Northeastern, which topped James Madison in Saturday's other semifinal contest.
 
VCU (12-20) was looking to repeat its heroics from the 2005 season, when the Rams became the first No. 4 seed to capture the CAA crown. However, it was not to be, as the Blue Hens hit .376 and got 50 assists from two-time CAA Setter of the Year Jess Chason.
 
Ojukwu hit .423 to pace the VCU in her finest performance of the season. Additionally, sophomore Kristin Boyd (Wilmington, N.C.) blasted 12 kills and hit .526. Boyd also supplied four blocks. Senior Kelsie Clegg (Boise, Idaho) added nine kills and three blocks for the Rams.
 
Delaware, the CAA's top offensive squad, was led by the trio of Katie Dennehy, Alissa Alker and Kim Stewart, who provided 17, 15 and 15 kills, respectively.
 
Down 2-0 in the match, VCU broke open the third set after kills by freshman Ciara Brown (Fort Myers, Fla.) and Clegg sparked a 7-3 run that gave the Rams an 18-14 advantage. Boyd smashed four kills in the third for VCU, which hit .367 in the frame.
 
Whatever momentum the Rams had in the third quickly disappeared in the fourth set, when the Blue Hens used a 9-1 blitz to grab a commanding 14-6 advantage. VCU pulled within 17-12 and 20-15 later in the match, but could draw no closer. UD held on for a 25-20 win.
 
Delaware had swept the Rams in two previous meetings this season, but VCU came out and traded blows with UD from the first serve. The Rams trailed by as many as five points in the first set, but rallied to tie the frame at 22-22 when junior Courtney Hott (Fredericksburg, Va.) sandwiched two kills around a kill by Clegg. Hott tied the match again at 24-all with another kill, but Alker took over for Delaware and spiked a pair of kills to end the set.
 
VCU returns home and will conclude its 2010 season with a match against Albany at the Verizon Wireless Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center on Friday, Nov. 26 at 2 p.m.
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