RICHMOND, Va. – If you left Virginia Commonwealth University's match with George Mason early Saturday, you missed everything.
Juniors Anett Farkas (Budapest, Hungary) and Kristin Boyd (Wilmington, N.C.) combined for 34 kills, and senior Jessica Ojukwu (Sao Paulo, Brazil) spiked four kills in the tiebreaking fifth set as the Rams rallied for a dramatic, 3-2 (18-25, 25-27, 25-14, 25-20, 15-10) win over the Patriots at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
The victory improves VCU to 10-14 overall and 4-5 in the Colonial Athletic Association. It also keeps the Rams in the thick of the race for one of the CAA's six conference tournament berths. In addition, VCU avenged a 3-1 loss to George Mason on Sept. 24 in Fairfax, Va. The Patriots slipped to 7-14 overall and 2-7 in the CAA.
VCU fell behind 2-0 Saturday before staging a comeback that was as pulse-pounding as it was rare. It was the first time a Rams' team had rallied from a 2-0 deficit to earn a victory since a 3-2 win at Georgia State on Oct. 7, 2005.
It looked as if it would be a forgettable weekend for the Black and Gold following a 3-0 loss to James Madison on Friday, but when the Rams emerged from the locker room at intermission, staring at a 2-0 hole, they were a different team.
"The thing that we'd been missing last couple matches is focus to play with intensity," said VCU Head Coach James Finley. "It took a while tonight for that to build. Once the intensity was there, it was like a train going downhill."
Boyd led all players with 19 kills, while Farkas delivered 15 timely spikes. She hit .281 on 32 swings.
"Anett Farkas was amazing tonight," Finley said. "When we needed something, she delivered."
In all, five Rams recorded 10 or more kills. Freshman setter Cecilia Aragao (Recife, Brazil) handed out 57 assists, while senior Amanda Friday (Springfield, Va.) and freshman Amanda Love (Southfield, Mich.) provided 19 and 17 digs, respectively. Ojukwu delivered 10 kills and was 4-for-4 in the fifth set as VCU built a 12-6 lead on the way to a 15-10 win.
The Rams hit .252 on the evening, including .440 and .350 in the third and fourth sets, respectively. George Mason hit .173 on the night, but hit -.062 in the final frame, recording three kills and four errors.
Kelsey Bohman led the Patriots with 15 kills. Laura Spencer added nine blocks, including four solos.
The Rams return to action on Friday, Oct. 28 when they head to Hempstead, N.Y. to meet Hofstra at 5 p.m