The University of Rhode Island women’s volleyball team extended their losing streak to five games in a five-set loss to George Washington and snapped it in a four-set win against George Mason this weekend.
The Rams had a 2-1 lead before losing the fourth set 25-22 and the fifth set 15-5 to the Colonials. The crowd could have had something to do with that, as the Rams switched benches between sets and the George Washington faithful were positioned right behind them.
“They were giving it to us all night,” Rhode Island head coach Bob Schneck said. “We weren’t in the fifth game at all. They treated us pretty poorly. A couple of girls let it affect them. There’s a difference between men verbally abusing men and men verbally abusing women. They had a poster of me, I can handle that. But when they’re doing it to women, it’s different. I can’t wait to play them here at our place. That’s all I can say.”
The offense got back to its winning ways against George Mason. Junior Franki Darnold had 16 kills and Callan Kinnan had 53 assists, 22 more assists than all of George Mason combined. Kinnan now ranks seventh in all-time assists at Rhode Island. Sophomore Layne Self reached 192 block assists for her career, moving her into the top 15 in Rhode Island history for that category.
The Patriots led with 12 blocks and six aces, but only achieved a .098 hitting percentage, paling in comparison to Rhode Island’s .243. Junior Lizzy Scanlon led the Rams in digs with 17, but George Mason’s Stephi Matsushima after contributing 21.
“George Mason was scary,” Schneck said. “They have a coach who’s been in the game as long as I have. They have half dozen kids on the team who could jump through the roof. They were very athletic. It was scary but we won in four games. [The offense] wasn’t too bad. We had moments where we looked pretty good again. We’re one of the best defensive teams if you look at the stats. But our first touch on serve receive is either confident or it’s not. George Mason, if they get going at home, they can upset a good team.”
The Rams find themselves fifth in the conference standings, with home games coming up against LaSalle and Duquesne. Frank W. Keaney Gymnasium will be a welcome sight for Rhode Island coming off of five straight road games, and looking to climb the standings.
Coach Schneck said he wants his team to use the win as momentum for the big games this weekend. If URI wins both games, they could make a push to be in the top 3 in the A-10 standings.
“[Road games] always do [have an effect on the team], especially against a team like George Washington,” Schneck said. “We made a couple plays and we were right there. Who was strong last year is not necessarily who is strong this year. Saint Louis is in the top 25, then George Washington, Dayton, Duquesne and LaSalle. So we’ll be in the hunt but we need to be on our A game.”