SYKES CELEBRATES BIRTHDAY IN STYLE; LEADS RAMS IN THRILLER

Score: VCU 3, Hampton 2 (19-25, 25-15, 22-25, 25-23, 21-19)
Location: Holland Hall (Hampton, Va.)
Records: VCU 10-9, Hampton 10-9

THE BASICS
  • Senior Janelle Sykes provided four kills and four blocks, and teamed with Cecilia Aragao and Kalah Jones on the match-clinching block, to lead VCU past Hampton Tuesday night at Holland Hall.
  • Sykes, who celebrated her 21st birthday Tuesday, finished with 17 kills and seven blocks. She hit a robust .519 and committed just three attacking errors in 27 swings.
  • Freshman Rebekah Strange stayed busy on the back row. The libero dug a career-high 22 balls for the Rams, who outdug the Pirates by a 53-38 margin.
  •  Senior setting Cecilia Aragao gave out 51 assists and also provided six digs, four blocks and five kills.
  • Freshman Jessica Young added 15 kills and junior Kalah Jones added 12 for the Rams, offensively. Freshman Mary Kilbane served up four aces.
  • Hampton's Vendula Strakova led all players with 24 kills.
HOW IT HAPPENED
  • VCU needed to overcome a 2-1 deficit to earn its 10th win.
  • Hampton staved off nine set points before VCU edged out a 21-19 victory in the tiebreaker. Sykes had a hand in eight of VCU's points in the frame, including the final triple block.
  • The Rams forced a fifth set tiebreaker with three straight points to close the fourth. Trailing 23-22, Sykes and Aragao first connected on an assist and kill, then teamed for a double block. A Hampton ball handling error on the next play gave the Rams a 25-23 win.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
  • VCU improved to 26-0 all-time versus Hampton.
QUOTABLES FROM COACH JODY ROGERS
  • "It's a very good team. They have a couple of imports that got a lot done, and we're still trying to figure each other out. They played us point for point tonight and it was an exciting match."
  • "Rebekah Strange did a really nice job at libero tonight, and Janelle had a really great match. Mary Kilbane came in and dugs some balls and got us back into the game in spots with her serving."
  • "That's a good team. They've already beat George Washington this year. They're very disciplined and we had to battle. The girls really stepped up at the end in the fifth set and pulled it out."
WHAT'S NEXT
VCU returns home for a match with Atlantic 10 Conference foe George Mason on Friday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Stuart C. Siegel Center. 
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