The University of Rhode Island’s women’s volleyball team went 1-1 last weekend as they opened up their home series in Atlantic 10 conference play.
The Rams had their first game Friday night against the La Salle Explorers. Rhody fell behind early in the first set as they started out at a 12-5 deficit and were not able to battle back. The Explorers were victorious with a 25-17 win in the first set.
The slow start continued for URI in the next set as they stared at a 12-6 score in favor of the Explorers. A timeout was called by the Rams, sparking a big rally. Eventually, it stood 22-21 in favor of URI, but La Salle finished strong, winning the last four points to win the second set 25-22.
La Salle would complete their sweep with a 25-20 victory in the third set. The Explorers never trailed during this portion of the match, racing out to an early lead and refusing to look back. The defeat was the third straight for the Rams.
Rhody was back in action on Saturday night as they were paired up with the Duquesne Dukes with both teams seeking their seventh win of the season. After the disappointment of Friday night’s game, it was the Rams who came out looking to make a statement.
They raced out to a 12-6 advantage, and while it became closer as the set went on, freshman Gabrielle Shilling pounded a kill earning URI a 25-23 first set win. URI Head Coach Steve Santonastaso was enthusiastic about the set, saying “It was a great start and they pushed back a bit, but we maintained our side of the net and our strength and our belief through the end of that set.”
The Rams asserted their dominance in the second set as they won 25-19. At one point they scored seven unanswered points to create a lead the Dukes could not come back from. Lauren Pick recorded two aces during the sequence, bringing her ace total to 11.
The sweep was concluded in the third set as URI earned a 25-21 victory, resulting in their first win of conference play and boosting their overall record to 7-8. Coach Santonastaso was impressed with the win against such a strong side. “That’s a good team and to sweep them is an accomplishment,” Santonastaso said.
The highlight of the set was the aforementioned Pick diving into the bench to save a point for Rams, crashing into three chairs before picking herself back up to play out the rally. Recalling the moment postgame, Coach Santonastaso highlighted her constant effort, saying “It was scary to watch her go, but she knows that one speed. She’s going for that ball no matter what.”
URI has two matches this weekend, both of them being played away. They take on George Washington Friday night and then play George Mason on Saturday.