How it Happened
Rhode Island (7-14, 1-8 Atlantic 10) remained winless in October, dropping its sixth straight match in heartbreaking fashion Sunday. After falling behind 2-0 to Davidson, Rhody rallied to tie the match, only to see the visiting Wildcats take the deciding set.
Davidson (12-8, 5-4 A-10) won a back-and-forth opening set, 26-24. Rhody was up 19-14 following a block by Jenna McGuire, but the visiting Wildcats chipped away at the lead. The Rams still led 22-20, but Davidson scored six of the final eight points to take the early lead.
A big run midway through the second set helped Davidson take control. Leading 10-9, the Wildcats used a 10-4 run to cruise to the 2-0 lead in sets.
Rhody found a rhythm offensively in the third set, getting 16 kills en route to taking the set 25-23. Natale Zanelletto (5 kills), Jenna McGuire (4), Mariah Paulette (3), Hazel Brown (2) and Lauren Pick (2) all had multiple kills as the Rams put together its most balanced set of the match.
The momentum continued in the fourth set, as Rhody evened the match by taking the set, 25-14. The Rams hit .238 as a team, getting 14 kills and committing just four errors. Davidson, meanwhile was held to six kills with five errors as Rhode Island dominated the set.
The teams traded points early in the tie-breaking fifth set, and the score was tied 5-5. Rhode Island appeared to run out of gas, as Davidson went on a 5-1 run, forcing Rhody to call timeout trailing 10-6. Unfortunately, Davidson scored the first point coming back from the break to extend to a five-point lead.
Rhode Island mounted one more rally, as a kill by Jenna McGuire followed by back-to-back kills from Natale Zanellato pulled the Rams within 12-10. Davidson called time, but an ace by Lauren Pick and a block from McGuire and Gabrielle Shilling tied the score. Another kills from Zanellato put the Rams up 13-12, forcing another Davidson timeout.
Another McGuire/Shilling block gave the Rams match point, but Davidson ran off three straight points to set up a match point of its own. Though the Rams staved off four match points, Davidson eventually closed out the set, 21-19, when Alison Jennings and Mason Rooney combined on a block to end the match.
Inside the Box Score
- Senior Olivia Budinich set a Rhode Island single-match record, recording 34 digs. The previous record of 32 was set by Sue Scott against Penn State on Sept. 20, 1986.
- Budinich was one of four Rams with double-digit digs, as junior Hazel Brown (17), senior Lauren Pick (15) and freshman Ella Ratzloff (14) joined her.
- The 92 digs for Rhode Island were the most in a match this season, topping the 87 Rhody had in a 3-2 win at Holy Cross on Sept. 1.
- Junior Hazel Brown had her first career double-double, finishing with 10 kills, 17 digs and two block assists.
- Redshirt sophomore Natale Zanellato had a team-high 18 kills, while freshman Mariah Paulette added 14 of her own.
- Junior Jenna McGuire had 10 kills with just two errors for a team-best .400 attack percentage. She also had seven blocks.
- Senior Lauren Pick had 50 assists, her second match with 50 this season.
- Sophomore Annie Ell had six aces, tying her for the third most in a match in team history. Pick added three.
Rhode Island hits the road for a pair of matches next weekend, playing at Duquesne Friday, Oct. 26 (7 p.m.) and at La Salle Sunday, Oct. 28 (1 p.m.).