RAMS PUSH TOP-SEEDED DAYTON TO THE BRINK, FALL 3-2

Atlantic 10 Tournament Semifinals
Score: #22 Dayton 3, VCU 2 (25-12, 20-25, 22-25, 25-17, 15-10)
Location: St. Louis, Mo. (Chaifetz Pavilion)
Records: VCU 19-14, Dayton 29-1

The short story: Junior Alica Kandler and freshman Jasmin Sneed led a valiant VCU upset bid, combining for 21 kills and seven blocks, but top-seeded and 22nd-ranked Dayton rallied late to outlast the Rams in the Atlantic 10 Conference Semifinals Saturday.
 
OPENING VOLLEY
  • Kandler matched Dayton's acclaimed hitters with a 12-kill performance. She hit .440. Freshman Vicky Giommarini also provided 12 kills for the Rams.
  • Sneed added six more blocks to her weekend total, not to mention nine kills, while hitting .615. She piled up 17 blocks in two A-10 Tournament matches over the weekend.
  • Sophomore middle Tori Baldwin added seven blocks, while freshman Gina Tuzzolo kicked in five and seven kills for the Black and Gold.
  • Jessica Sloan led all players with 15 kills for Dayton, while Kendyll Brown hit .600 with 14 kills.
THE DIFFERENCE
  • Dayton hit .421 and committed just two hitting errors in the fifth set tiebreaker. The Rams jumped out to a 4-2 lead in the fifth, but watched as the Flyers responded with a 6-1 burst, sparked by a block and a kill by Amber Erhanon, to take an 8-5 advantage. The Flyers would not trail again.
  • The Rams owned a 2-1 lead heading into the fourth set, but Dayton came out firing and built a 12-6 lead behind four Brown kills. The Flyers would take the set going away 25-17.
  • VCU staggered the defending champs by hitting .375 in the second set and .237 in the third on the way to victories. In the second, the Rams received a pair of blocks, as well as a service ace by junior libero Rebekah Strange to fuel a 4-0 push that gave VCU an 18-14 lead. The Rams would capture the frame 25-21.
QUOTABLE
"I'm proud of how much fight this team had. Losing really hurts right now, but in the next few weeks we'll realize that this is another step for this group as we start to look to next year. This team really fights. We've come a long way since the start of the season, and I'm proud of what this group, young as they are, has been able to accomplish. We're learn from this and get ready for next year." – VCU Coach Jody Rogers.
 
NEXT UP
VCU's season is complete. The Rams finish their fourth season under Rogers with a 19-14 record. VCU graduates just one senior, Sydney Cooper, who missed the entire season with an injury. 
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