Rams Upset Duquesne, Advance to A-10 Semifinals

Rams Upset Duquesne, Advance to A-10 Semifinals

How It Happened
FIfth-seeded Rhode Island (12-15) pulled off the upset, beating No. 4 Duquesne 3-1 (24-26, 25-23, 25-23, 25-18) Friday afternoon to advance to the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 Championship.

After falling behind by eight points early in the opening set, Rhode Island rallied late to tie the set for the first time at 21-21 when Rachel Lynne Cox put away the kill, forcing Duquesne (13-16) to use a timeout. A kill by Duquesne's Molly Davet and a ball handling error by the Rams put the Dukes back ahead, 23-21. Rhody tied it again on an attack error and block error on consecutive points by Duquense. A Davet kill gave Duquesne the 24-23 lead, but a block from Marie Gillcrist and Kylee Wolfe helped the Rams stave off the set point. The Dukes responded with a kill from Maria Mosbacher and a block from Abbie Trzeciak to take the first set.

It was all Rhody early in the second set, as the Rams scored 10 of the first 15 points. Cox had a pair of kills, while Wolfe and Live Lunde Fossdal added one each during the early run. Duquesne put together a 12-3 run, and eight consecutive points by the Dukes made the score 17-13. Rhode Island was forced to use both its timeouts in effort to stem the bleeding. The second timeout was effective, as the Rams scored three straight points to pull back within 17-16. From there, the teams traded points until Rhody tied it at 22-22 on a block by Gillcrist and Wolfe, forcing a Duquesne timeout. Rhody took two of the next three points, getting set point after a Cox kill. An attack error by Duquesne gave Rhode Island the set to even the match 1-1.

In the pivotal third set, Rhode Island never trailed. The Rams scored the first four points of the set and eight of the first 10 overall for the early 8-2 advantage. Rhody maintained a multi-point lead until a ball handling error helped Duquesne pull with one point at 21-20. However, Rhode Island took three of the next four points to set up a triple set point at 24-21 following back-to-back kills from Wolfe and Gillcrist. Duquesne paused the momentum with a timeout, and a Rhode Island attack error and an ace by Davet made the score 24-23. The Rams called a timeout of their own, and a Gillcrist kill after the break gave Rhody the set and a 2-1 lead.

Trailing 13-11 in the fourth set, Rhode Island ripped off six straight points to pull ahead 17-13 following a Wolfe kill. The Rams did not let up, as a kill from Cox and an attack error gave Rhody a 24-17 lead and seven match points. Duquesne got a kill from Davet, but a service error by the Dukes ended the match and gave Rhody the victory.

Inside the Box Score

  • Rhode Island had a very balanced offense, as four different players recorded at least 12 kills. It was the third time this season the Rams have had four players get at least 10 kills in the same match.
  • Freshman Live Lunde Fossdal had a team-high 14 kills to go with a career-best 19 digs, marking her sixth double-double of the season.
  • Senior Kylee Wolfe also had a double-double, finishing with 13 kills and 12 digs. 
  • The third player to record a double-double was junior Lauren Pick, who played one of her strongest matches of the season. Pick had 48 assists and 15 digs for her team-leading 13th double-double of the year.
  • Pick's passing was at its best in the third set, when the Rams had a big 21-11 advantage in kills.
  • The 48 assists were the most in a four-set match for Pick, who now has 909 assists for her career.
  • Senior Marie Gillcrist had 12 kills, seven blocks and three digs. 
  • Senior Jessie Blaze finished with 22 digs, her fourth match this season with at least 20 digs. She also added five assists.
  • Sophomore Jenna Mcguire had eight kills for the Rams. 

Stat of the Match
- With seven blocks Friday afternoon, senior Marie Gillcrist now has 145 total blocks for the season, the most by a Rhode Island player in the rally-scoring era. and the fifth highest single-season total in program history.

What's Next
Rhode Island advanced to the Atlantic 10 Championship semifinals, where it will face No. 1 VCU Saturday afternoon. The match begins at 3 p.m.