ariah Paulette makes a significant play against Boston College. Photo by Greg Clark. 

Rhode Island Women’s Volleyball toughed it out over the weekend, winning two of their three games as host of the Art Carmichael Invitational, finishing with two close wins against Bryant and Albany and a loss to Boston College. 

The tournament pays tribute to Art Carmichael, the head coach of the program from 1974-1980 who helped lead the women’s team to 162 victories and a 24-match winning streak, which still remains a school record today.   

Head Coach Steve Santonastaso highlighted that his key performers this past weekend were setter Annie Ell, Libero Ella Ratzloff and outside Hazel Brown. Going more in-depth to his teams performance this weekend, Santonastaso said setter Annie Ell plays a very important role on the court.

“Setters get sometimes overlooked,” said Santonastaso. “I think she had a pretty strong weekend. We expect everyone to work their hardest for themselves and for their teammates. I think that she exemplifies that.” 

Libero Ella Ratzloff also had a strong weekend defending and serve receiving.

“She controls a pretty good percentage of the court for us,” he said.

On Hazel Brown’s play this past weekend Santonastaso said, “This was her strongest full weekend. She’s played well all season, I think she put three matches together that were pretty consistent. Offensively she had her career high in kills saturday night with 19 kills between five sets.” 

Although the three highlighted had a successful weekend, the team as a whole worked well together during the Invite. 

“There’s a lot of people that contribute to our success that play sometimes small sometimes big roles on the court,” said Santonastaso. “Our team and everyone plays a very important role in terms of what has to happen on the court.”

For a scheme, Rhody Volleyball runs a 5-1, with a future goal to get into a 6-2 offense in order to be more explosive at the net. The 6-2 will allow the team to have an extra offensive option. Running a 6-2 means Rhode Island would have six hitters and two setters in their rotational system.

“We have a lot of outside and right side hitters,” said Santonastaso. “It’s determining how to best put them on the court” 

The team went 2-1 this past weekend and has won four of their past five games. The uptick in success is due to their preparations going into their games. With only one day off a week, important factors such as hard work, positivity and determination are key factors when preparing for their next game. 

Rhody Volleyball now heads into Atlantic 10 conference play this weekend with a home game against Fordham at 4 p.m. There are 14 matches over all, the team of course will be striving to win all matches, but seven or eight match wins in conference play would put them in a good position to make it into the conference championship. With Rhody also playing host to the Atlantic 10 Tournament for the first time since 2005, there is plenty to be excited about inside Keaney Gymnasium.