Sept. 17, 2011
Setting the Scene
In its final match of the Crowne Plaza Philadelphia West Penn Invitational, Rhode Island snapped its five-match losing streak by defeating William & Mary 3-1 (23-25, 25-23, 28-26, 25-20). The victory evened Rhody's record at 6-6, while the Tribe fell to 4-6.
How It Happened
After dropping the first set, Rhode Island rallied back to take the match in four sets. Junior setter Annie Nelson distributed 38 assists to lead a balanced Ram offense that saw senior Kayla Wilson (15 kills), sophomore Britta Baarstad (11 kills) and freshman Catie Steffen (10 kills) and all record triple digits in kills.
The key stretch of the match came in the third set, with William & Mary leading 20-17. Rhode Island scored seven of the next eight points, as the defense forced five attack errors in the span. After the Tribe came back to tie the set 24-24, the teams traded points until Kayla Wilson finished the set with three straight kills to give the Rams a 2-1 lead. In the final set, URI jumped out to a 21-9 lead. Sophomore Kalyn Schieffer served six points in the set, including a stretch of five consecutive points that helped the Rams take control of the match. She had three aces during the run.
Kayla Wilson represented URI on the All-Tournament team after recording 38 kills, and 36 digs in three matches. She committed just one receiving error in 36 chances. Wilson also earned All-Tournament honors at last week's Art Carmichael Invitational, as well as the Stony Brook Holiday Inn Express Tournament, where she earned MVP honors.
In addition to Wilson's strong game, junior Annie Nelson had 38 assists. Her passing helped URI's attack improve with each set. In the fourth and final set, the Rams had a .333 hitting percentage as a team, as Nelson set the table for her teammates.
Junior middle blocker Lauren Wong had six block assists and sparked a defense that forced William & Mary to a .101 team hitting percentage.
What it Means
As they complete the in-season tournament slate, Rhode Island has evened its record with just one match remaining before Atlantic 10 competition begins. One week from today the Rams play at Fordham in their A-10 opener.
Stat of the Day
All six of URI's victories have come in neutral court matches. The Rams are now 6-1 in such games.
Rhode Island returns home for a non-conference match with in-state rival Brown Wednesday (7 p.m.).