Rhode Island Falls to Top-Seeded VCU, 3-0, in A-10 Semifinals

Photo Credit: Fred Vuich
Photo Credit: Fred Vuich

How it Happened
VCU - which lost just four of 46 sets during conference play this season - got off to a hot start, scoring eight of the match's first nine points. Rhody's lone point during that stretch came on a VCU service error. The Rams from Richmond extended their lead to 16-6, and led by eight or more through the remainder of the set, en route to the 25-15 victory.

Rhode Island's first lead in the match came in the second set, when an Olivia Budinich service ace put URI on top 3-2. The teams traded points and kept things close with neither side leading by more than two until a VCU block made it 10-7 in favor of the Atlantic 10's regular-season champs. Rhody responded with four straight kills - by Kylee Wolfe (1), Marie Gillcrist (2) and Rachel Lynne Cox (1) - to pull back ahead by one at 11-10.

VCU then used 7-2 run to move ahead 17-13, forcing Rhode Island to call a timeout. Rhody managed just four more points after the pause - on a kill by Wolfe, a kill by McGuire and a pair of service errors - as VCU picked up the 25-17 win.

Trailing 8-4 in the third set, Rhody continued to fight, cutting the lead to two on a McGuire kill that made it 12-10. VCU outscored Rhody 13-7 down the stretch however, winning the set 25-17 and sweeping Rhode Island for the third time this season.

VCU - which has now won 26 matches in a row dating back to the beginning of September - will advance to the A-10 title game for the second time in the last five years.

Inside the Box Score

  • With the loss, Rhode Island's season ends at 12-16. VCU, meanwhile, improves to 29-2.
  • VCU used its size and strength to overpower Rhode Island, finishing with a 47-27 advantage in kills and a 12-5 advantage in total team blocks.
  • Senior Marie Gillcrist led the Rams with eight kills on the afternoon. She also added a pair of block assists, extending Rhode Island's rally-scoring season record to 147.
  • Senior Kylee Wolfe finished with seven kills, three digs and one block.
  • Senior Jessie Blaze recorded 12 digs while freshman Live Lunde Fossdal and junior Olivia Budinich added five apiece.
  • Sophomore Jenna McGuire registered three blocks - including one solo - and added five kills.
  • Senior Rachel Lynne Cox had four kills in her final game for the Rams.
  • VCU's Rebekah Strange turned in a match-high 24 digs while Tori Baldwin led all players with seven blocks and Vicky Giommarini had a match-best 11 kills.

Stat of the Match
376 - With 12 digs on the afternoon, senior Jessie Blaze finished the season with 376, the eighth most in a single season in program history, and the most by any Rhode Island player since Kalyn Klaess finished the 2009 season with 419. In the rally-scoring era, Blaze's total of 376 ranks fourth all-time at Rhode Island.