RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia Commonwealth University junior outside hitter Kristin Boyd (Wilmington, N.C.) led all players with 17 kills, and the Rams set a season-high for blocks in a pivotal, 3-1 (32-30, 18-25, 25-20, 25-23) victory over Towson Friday night at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
Towson entered the night as one of the stingiest defensive teams in the league, limiting its opponents to a CAA-low .155 hitting percentage. But VCU hit .417 in an epic, 32-30, first set victory and finished with a .276 mark for the match.
While Boyd was VCU's go-to hitter on offense, it was the Rams' 16.5 blocks that disrupted Towson and its star outside hitter, Katy Buck. The Rams had 11 blocks in the first set alone and Buck, who leads the CAA in kills per set, hit just .064 for the match with 15 kills.
Junior middle blocker Jasmine Waters (Landover, Md.) led VCU up front with eight total blocks. She added seven kills and hit .462. Senior Courtney Hott (Fredericksburg, Va.) also recorded six blocks and seven kills, while classmate Jessica Ojukwu (Sao Paulo, Brazil) provided nine kills, five blocks and hit .333. Freshman setter Cecilia Aragao (Recife, Brazil) handed out 41 assists, dug 12 balls and booked four rejections.
Dayne Van Ass and Alysha McCreary added 14 kills apiece, while setter Aubrey Kirven dished out 52 assists, 22 of which came in the first set alone.
The Rams scored an emotional victory in the first set to grab momentum and a 1-0 lead. The set featured 10 ties and three lead changes, and VCU survived four Towson set points. McCreary tied the frame, 30-30, with a kill off a Kirven feed, but the Tigers would not score again. Towson followed with back-to-back hitting errors to surrender the set to VCU.
In the midst of a critical, four-match homestand, the Rams will have their work cut out for them on Saturday evening at 7 p.m., when they welcome defending CAA Champion Delaware to the Verizon Wireless Arena. The Blue Hens (11-11, 4-2 CAA) swept William & Mary, 3-0, Friday night in Williamsburg, Va. and have won three in a row.