The Fordham Ram

Rhode Island Ends Volleyball’s Campaign Short of the A-10’s

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Rhode Island Ends Volleyball’s Campaign Short of the A-10’s

Mckenna Lahr’s 39 aces are the eighth most ever by a first year Ram (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram).

Mckenna Lahr’s 39 aces are the eighth most ever by a first year Ram (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram).

Mckenna Lahr’s 39 aces are the eighth most ever by a first year Ram (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram).

Mckenna Lahr’s 39 aces are the eighth most ever by a first year Ram (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram).


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Mckenna Lahr’s 39 aces are the eighth-most ever by a first year Ram (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram).

By Tom Terzulli

Fordham Volleyball’s resurgent season comes to an end just one win short of the Atlantic 10 tournament. With a five set loss to Rhode Island last Friday, the Rams wrapped up their season with a 12-15 overall record and a 4-10 mark in conference, narrowly missing the fifth and final playoff spot.

The match with URI was one marked with inconsistency as Fordham could never put two winning sets together. They stumbled out of the gate in the opening frame, recording just nine kills and seven errors for .062 attack percentage. The Rams of URI hit .216 en route to an easy 25-19 victory.

Fordham bounced back with one of it’s best sets of the season, winning 25-23. 19 team kills were a season high and it out-shot URI .324 to .200.

The Rams dipped right back down to nine kills (.111) in the third, while Rhode Island put up their most efficient set with 13 kills at a .323 clip, coasting to a 25-16 final mark.

The Fordham attack was still inefficient in the fourth (11 kills, .053 attack percentage), but it was able to capitalize on a down set for URI. Rhode Island committed seven errors, was blocked four times and allowed three Fordham aces along the way as they fell 25-22.

A 5-2 Fordham advantage in the deciding stanza would be their last lead as URI went on to score four straight points to tie it and never looked back, taking the set and match 15-11.

“Our ball control broke down and didn’t allow us to run a balanced offense,” Fordham head coach Gini Ullery-Shrift told The Fordham Ram. “The biggest thing we can learn is that we have to take advantage of opportunities and make sure we are executing our best in those pressure situations.”

Sophomore Olivia Fairchild led the way with a match-high 17 kills, and freshman McKenna Lahr put up 11 kills, 11 digs and five aces. Defensively, sophomore Morgan Williams set a career best with 28 digs, while Fairchild junior Olivia LaPorta and senior Nicole Freeley all registered three blocks a piece. Junior Maddy Walsh assisted on 36 kills.

Fairchild wraps up her sophomore campaign all over the Fordham record books. Her 3.57 kills per set and 63 aces this season rank fourth-and sixth most all-time and are both the most ever by a Fordham sophomore. The Phoenix, AZ native’s 3.96 career kills per set average ranks first in program history and 120 career aces are seventh best.

“She sets really high goals for herself,” Ullery-Shrift said. “You can tell by the way she goes out there everyday and executes on the court. She’s going to continue to develop at Fordham. Her future is just beginning.”

Williams was a steady hand at libero all year, tallying the eighth most digs in a season by a Fordham player with 398. She becomes the second Ram to ever average more than four digs per set in a season with 4.06, falling just short of the record set by Jenn Shea in 1994 of 4.10. Her career 3.71 digs per set average is the most all time, easily besting the previous mark of  3.46 set by Stephanie Frost from 2004 to 2007.

One of her greatest assets is her speed and her ability to read and react to plays,” Ullery-Shrift said. “Mo’s progress has been awesome to watch. With her and Fairchild only being sophomores, that really shows where the program is going.”

Furthering the youth movement is Lahr, who wraps her first year in Ram maroon with 192 kills, second-most on the team, and 39 aces. The aces rank eighth all-time among Fordham freshmen.

“McKenna had all the skills coming into college. She’s even-keeled, she really does a good job of stepping out and playing at a high level,” she said. “She’s one of our hardest workers when she’s warming up. She’s really getting herself mentally and physically ready for that match.”

The Rams, a team that finished 3-25 just three seasons ago, finishes just a win short of the A-10 tourney.

“I’m proud of this team,” Ullery-Shrift said. “I’m proud of this team. There’s been a lot of growth on court and off court. The future is bright for Fordham volleyball.”

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Rhode Island Ends Volleyball’s Campaign Short of the A-10’s