Score: VCU 3, Rhode Island 0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-17)
Location: A.J. Palumbo Center (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Records: VCU 29-2, Rhode Island 12-16
The short story: VCU dominated all phases of the game to sweep Rhode Island in the Atlantic 10 semifinals at the A.J. Palumbo Center on Saturday afternoon. The Rams extended the nation's longest winning streak to 26 matches, advancing to the conference finals for the first time since 2013.
- VCU's attack fired on all cylinders, as the Black and Gold outhit Rhode Island .400 to .071. VCU committed just two hitting errors in each of the first two sets, hitting .471 and .500, respectively.
- Defensively, VCU led URI 12-5 in blocks and 40-29 in digs.
- Sophomore Vicky Giommarini led the Rams offensively, hitting .444 with 11 kills and just three errors on 18 swings. She also added five digs, three blocks and a service ace.
- Sophomore Jasmin Sneed was effective on both sides of the ball, hitting a staggering .625 with six kills on eight swings, and recording five blocks.
- Senior Rebekah Strange controlled the back row with a match-high 24 digs.
- Sophomores Dejah Ard and Tyler Sroufe split the setting duties with 22 and 18 assists, respectively.
- Junior Tori Baldwin made her presence felt in the middle, tallying a match-high seven blocks.
- VCU jumped out to an early 9-2 lead in the first set, powered by three kills and a service ace by Giommarini, and never looked back.
- The second set was a back-and-forth affair, until VCU went on an 8-2 run to take a 19-13 lead. Sneed combined with senior Alica Kandler and junior Julia Adler for crucial blocks during the stretch of VCU points.
- VCU started hot once again in the third set, using a pair of kills from sophomore Gina Tuzzolo to spark a 5-1 lead. Rhode Island fought to make it 18-15, but VCU closed on a 7-2 run to win the set and match.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- The Black and Gold presented a varied attack, with six players recording six or more kills. In addition to Giommarini's 11, Tuzzolo recorded nine, Adler spiked eight, Kandler tallied seven, and Sneed and Baldwin each had six.
- The front row was involved on defense as well, with six players recording multiple blocks. Baldwin (7), Sneed (5), Adler (4), Giommarini (3), Tuzzolo (2), and Kandler (2) all got in on the action.
The Rams face the winner of Dayton and George Washington in the A-10 Championship at 1 p.m. on Sunday. VCU is seeking its first conference tournament victory and NCAA Tournament appearance since winning the Colonial Athletic Association in 2005.