The University of Rhode Island women’s volleyball team picked up another win on Saturday in a sweep of struggling Fordham, but had to overcome a hostile road environment in the process.
“Fordham had a terrible record and we thought it was going to be easier than what is was,” Rhode Island head coach Bob Schneck said. “They had a crowd of unruly boys. We kept them to single-digits in the first game, then they play a lot better and that gave the boys something to cheer about, but the girls pulled through.”
Fordham was dismantled in the first set, losing to Rhode Island, 25-8. However, the second set was a different story, and the Rams found themselves in a 23-23 tie. They responded with a kill from Layne Self, and won the second set 25-23 on an attack error from Fordham’s Lisa Hipp.
Fordham is now 1-18 on the year, and despite the losing record, the Rhode Island did not overlook its opponent.
“They’re a team that is suffering,” said Schneck. “They have a new coach. They make a lot of errors. They’ll be okay but they only have one win so far, but we’re going to have to play a better caliber of ball.”
The Rams had a very balanced game against Fordham. Sophomore Callan Kinnan had 34 assists, more assists than all the Fordham players had combined. Junior Franki Darnold and Senior Catie Steffen had 13 kills each. They also locked Fordham down on defense with six blocks from Steffen and 10 digs from Junior Lizzy Scanlon.
Fordham had a negative hitting percentage against the Rams in the first set, marking the seventh time this season when Rhode Island has held an opponent to a sub-zero percentage in one set.
The Rams (13-5) are 4-1 in Atlantic 10 play heading into two important games against Saint Louis and Dayton, who are fourth and first in the conference, respectively. Rhode Island is currently tied for second place with George Washington University in the A-10 standings. If the Rams can secure that no. 2 spot in the standings, they will have a first-round bye in the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament. Coach Schneck and the rest of the team have that bye well within their sights.
“I look at the schedule as ‘yeses, “no”s and maybes,’” Schneck said. “I thought we would have more yeses than maybes and no’s. Before, we were always sort of in the middle [of the conference]. So this is going to be a very important two weeks, and it will decide what we’re doing. We’re trying to get the bye. There are only two teams that play twice at the conference tournament. It would be nice to only play twice.”
Rhode Island will ride its four-game winning streak into Saint Louis on Friday night before travelling to Dayton for a Sunday afternoon matchup.