Volleyball Splits Matches With VCU, Davidson

Mckenna+Lahr+%28center%29+earned+A-10+Co-Rookie+of+the+Week+honors+after+a+school+record+eight+aces+against+Davidson.
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Volleyball Splits Matches With VCU, Davidson

Mckenna Lahr (center) earned A-10 Co-Rookie of the Week honors after a school record eight aces against Davidson.

Mckenna Lahr (center) earned A-10 Co-Rookie of the Week honors after a school record eight aces against Davidson.

Mckenna Lahr (center) earned A-10 Co-Rookie of the Week honors after a school record eight aces against Davidson.

Mckenna Lahr (center) earned A-10 Co-Rookie of the Week honors after a school record eight aces against Davidson.

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Mckenna Lahr (center) earned A-10 Co-Rookie of the Week honors after a school record eight aces against Davidson.

By Tom Terzulli

There are a few things we know about Fordham Volleyball after they split a pair of games with VCU (L 3-0) and Davidson (W 3-2) at the Rose Hill Gym over the weekend. We know its record is 12-11 overall, with a 4-6 mark in conference, the 12 victories being their most since 2012. We know that if the season ended today, it would be the five seed in the 10-team A-10 volleyball tournament in Pittsburgh. Most importantly, we know that the Rams are a resilient bunch.

They kept it close in all three sets with the conference’s top team in VCU and came back from a set down to get past Davidson. The locked in Rams hit .309 as a team and recorded 43 kills against the VCU. That is the fifth-highest percentage of the Fordham season and their first time over .300 since they shot .443 in a win against St. Francis on Sept. 16. The team’s 43 kills are also tied for second-most this campaign.

Sharp offensive sets kept Fordham in the match, falling 25-21 in each of the first two frames. After battling back from a 10-6 deficit in set three, Fordham was just edged out 28-26 to secure the sweep.

“We really battled, we were really resilient, and we were in it the whole time,” Fordham head coach Gini Ullery-Shrift told The Fordham Ram. “That kinda just shows where we have been as a program all year, especially against good teams.”

The contest took place in front of the largest crowd in Fordham volleyball history. 1,776 local school children packed the Rose Hill Gym for the team’s annual field trip day, a game that the team always circles on the schedule.

“It gives the girls an opportunity to play in front of a crowd they never get to play in front of,” Ullery-Shrift said. “That environment is such a great thing for young student athletes, and I don’t care what sport it is, having that crowd and environment is amazing.”

Sophomore Olivia Fairchild doubled up with 10 kills and 10 digs to go along with her 110th career ace, giving her sole possession of tenth in Fordham history. She is two away from passing Tasha Johnston and Marija Markovic for eighth all-time.

Freshman Mckenna Lahr had ten kills paired with seven digs, while sophomore Kaitlin Morley registered eight kills and a team-high two aces. Junior Olivia LaPorta converted on seven of her nine kill attempts for a .667 percentage. Sophomore Elise Benjamin led the team with two blocks to go with five kills.

Fordham scorched their way to a .342 hit percentage and a 25-17 first set victory against the Wildcats. However, they struggled in the next two stanzas, falling behind 25-21 and 25-23. The Rams responded by jumping out to a 12-2 lead the fourth and never looking back, winning 25-15. They kept that momentum in the deciding frame, scoring the first 10 points on the way to a 15-6 rout.

“We were a little up and down and weren’t that discipled,” Ullery-Shrift said. “But it was great to see the team fight and battle, show some grit, show some resiliency.”

Lahr’s eight aces are tied for the most in program history for a five-set match, Fairchild accomplished that very same feat a few weeks ago. The record breaking performance along with 11 digs, six kills and three blocks earned Lahr the A-10 Co-Rookie of the Week honor. Fordham had 12 aces as a team, third most on the season.

Fairchild led the way with a match-high 21 kills to go with 10 digs, two aces, and two blocks. LaPorta’s five digs and seven blocks were both season highs. She also put up a .381 percentage on 10 kills. Benjamin and junior Natalie Martinez combined for 17 kills and two blocks. Senior Grace Muller tallied eight digs in her first start of the season.

Fordham has one match this weekend, Senior Night against Rhode Island. Five Ram seniors will be honored on Friday, Oct. 27 at 7p.m.