RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia Commonwealth University Volleyball Team kicked off its 2011 season Sunday with the annual Black and Gold Scrimmage. The Alumni squad, led by former All-Region star Ludmila Francescatto, took the match, 2-1 (25-21, 14-25, 25-16).

"It was a really exciting day," VCU Head Coach James Finley said. "It's fun to see the girls under pressure and see how different people responded. We got to run a lot of plays and we got to try people at a few different positions."
Redshirt junior outside hitter Kristin Boyd (Wilmington, N.C.) sparked the current VCU squad with 12 kills and a pair of blocks.
"Today was really evident of what we're going to see out of Kristin this year in terms of offense," Finley said. "It was good to see her when we were in system and out of system. She hit well out of back row and generated offense."
Senior Jessica Ojukwu (Sao Paulo, Brazil) added nine kills, while senior Courtney Hott (Fredericksburg, Va.) chipped in six kills and three blocks.
In addition to returnees like Boyd, who factors heavily into the Rams' plans this season, the Black and Gold Scrimmage was the first chance for fans to get a look at VCU's six newcomers this season. Among them was freshman setter Cecilia Aragao (Recife, Brazil), who provided 22 assists for the VCU attack.
On the back row, freshman Amanda Love (Southfield, Mich.) and senior transfer Amanda Friday (Springfield, Va.) scored high passing marks.
The Alumni team was one of the best in recent memory and in addition to Francescatto, included former All-Conference picks Mariel Frey and Kelsie Clegg, as well as Cat Juson, Megan Boyle and Shahrzad Firouzabadian.

VCU will begin its regular season on Friday, Aug. 26 when it heads to West Lafayette, Ind. for the Mortar Board Premier, hosted by Purdue University. The Rams open with the College of Charleston at 4 p.m. VCU will take on Baylor and the 13th-ranked Boilermakers the following day.