Volleyball Sweeps La Salle, Gets Swept vs Duquesne

Olivia+Fairchild+registered+10+kills%2C+10+digs+and+four+blocks+versus+La+Salle+%28Courtesy+of+Julia+Comerford+%2F+The+Fordham+Ram%29.
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Volleyball Sweeps La Salle, Gets Swept vs Duquesne

Olivia Fairchild registered 10 kills, 10 digs and four blocks versus La Salle (Courtesy of Julia Comerford / The Fordham Ram).

Olivia Fairchild registered 10 kills, 10 digs and four blocks versus La Salle (Courtesy of Julia Comerford / The Fordham Ram).

Olivia Fairchild registered 10 kills, 10 digs and four blocks versus La Salle (Courtesy of Julia Comerford / The Fordham Ram).

Olivia Fairchild registered 10 kills, 10 digs and four blocks versus La Salle (Courtesy of Julia Comerford / The Fordham Ram).


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By Tom Terzulli

Olivia Fairchild registered 10 kills, 10 digs and four blocks versus La Salle (Courtesy of Julia Comerford / The Fordham Ram)

After four straight matches at the Rose Hill Gym, Fordham Volleyball hit the road once again this past weekend. The first stop was Philadelphia, where they easy dispatched the struggling La Salle Explorers 3-0. Five hours away in Pittsburgh, the Rams were swept in one of their statistically worst matches of the season against the Duquesne Dukes. Fordham is 11-10 overall with a 3-5 mark in conference after the split.

The Explorers were up 10-6 early in the first set before a kill from sophomore Olivia Fairchild sparked an 18-9 Fordham run to close out the frame at 25-19.

The Rams led 16-12 in the early stages of set two following sophomore Kaitlin Morley’s fourth kill. La Salle battled back to eventually take a 23-22 lead on a service ace for Bryanna Davis. An attack error and another Morely kill tied the score at 24, forcing a La Salle timeout. The two teams traded points out of the break until sophomore Elise Benjamin killed the ball and Davis committed an attack error to give Fordham the 29-27 set victory.

In what was the final stanza, La Salle started out hot, but the Rams roared back and coasted to a 25-17 win.

Benjamin had her best match since returning from injury earlier in the season, posting 12 kills at a .556 clip, and adding three blocks.
“She’s helping our middles be more competitive,” said Fordham head coach Gini-Ullery-Shrift. “One of the things we’ve really been focusing on is getting our middles more involved and against La Salle we were and Benjamin has the most success.”

A typical stat-stuffer, Fairchild had 10 kills, 10 digs and four blocks. The duo of Morely and freshman McKenna Lahr combined for 15 kills and 15 digs, while junior Olivia LaPorta notched a five in the kill column. LaPorta also blocked four La Salle shots, making it the eighth time she has had at least three blocks in her last nine tries.

Junior Maddy Walsh set up 38 assists and dug four balls, while sophomore Morgan Williams led all Rams with her 12 digs.

Fordham never could get going against the Dukes, hitting for a percentage of .160, getting out-aced 9-2 and out blocked 9-3. Duquesne juxtaposed with a .299 hit percentage, including a .343 mark in the first set and a .320 clip in the third. All of that averaged out to a tough Sunday afternoon for the Rams, falling 25-16, 25-22, 25-15.

“We weren’t as efficient as we have been all year with our pass opportunities,” Ullery-Shrift said. “That took a toll on our one-on-one opportunities.”

Morley’s nine kills and two blocks led the team. Fairchild had seven kills, followed by LaPorta and Benjamin with six-a-piece, and the latter also blocked two shots. With 14 digs, Williams was the defensive leader again, and freshman Sophia Plett notched 23 assists in her return from injury. Fairchild and Williams served up the two Fordham aces.

Fordham returns to the Bronx for the final three home matches of the season. VCU is their next opponent in the “Battle of the Rams” at noon on Friday.