Volleyball Continues Skid, Losing to Davidson and VCU

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Volleyball Continues Skid, Losing to Davidson and VCU

Due to renovations, Fordham Volleyball will be forced to play on the road for the first month of the season. (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)

Due to renovations, Fordham Volleyball will be forced to play on the road for the first month of the season. (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)

Due to renovations, Fordham Volleyball will be forced to play on the road for the first month of the season. (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)

Due to renovations, Fordham Volleyball will be forced to play on the road for the first month of the season. (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram)

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By Emmanuel Berbari

Fordham Volleyball huddles after scoring a point (Julia Comerford/The Fordham Ram).

Fordham Volleyball has dropped seven of its last eight games, falling in home matches to Davidson and VCU this past weekend.

The Rose Hill Gym did not provide the advantage it typically has this season, as the Rams lasted four sets against the Wildcats and were swept away by the opposing Rams.

“Overall, we did a lot of good things over the weekend,” said sophomore McKenna Lahr. “Despite the two losses, we learned a lot more about what we need to do on our side of the net.”

Fordham grabbed the first set on Friday afternoon, before posting .172, .000 and .194 hit percentages en route to the Davidson loss. The Wildcats hit .247 and tallied 58 kills to Fordham’s 46.

Davidson, a middling team in the conference entering the match, was led by senior Ciara Cockrell’s 22 kills and six digs and senior Mason Rooney’s 16 kills, four blocks, three digs and three serve aces, while Fordham received seven kills and six blocks from junior Elise Benjamin and six kills and four digs from senior Olivia LaPorta.

The Rams had to quickly turn the page for a Sunday matinee with VCU, an undefeated first-place conference squad and winners of eight straight games coming in.

“I would say the highlights of VCU’s team is their scrappiness on defense and their ability to run the middles,” said Lahr. “Having effective middles makes it harder on the other team because it is difficult to put up a solid two-man block.”
That proved effective yet again at Rose Hill, as VCU’s deep tandem up front of juniors Jasmin Sneed, Vicky Giommarini and Gina Tuzzolo and senior Tori Baldwin set the pace for a three-set sweep.

Junior Kaitlin Morley collected 12 kills and seven digs while Benjamin charged to a .444 attack percentage, five kills and six blocks, but the Rams of Fordham committed three more errors and did not pick up a serve ace to VCU’s four.

“Another aspect of VCU’s game that I believe is the reason they are undefeated is their scrappiness on defense,” said Lahr. “They were able to keep many balls in play, and in system, which allowed them to keep their middles engaged throughout the entire match.”
There were 10 total VCU blocks that denied Fordham up front.

Despite the sweep, the Rams hung tough against the league’s best. A final tally of 25-18, 25-23 and 25-22 proved just that, with Fordham trading points into the late teens in every set.

“It was super encouraging to be able to hold our own and put up a great fight against them,” said Lahr. “Knowing we can compete with every team in our conference, especially the top team, shows how much potential our team has for the future of the program.”

VCU has not gone more than four sets with any conference opponent. Stealing a set would have been a huge lift for Fordham, but the youthful team is more focused on finding the right mix to succeed—and the team chemistry could not be higher for a group with a 2-7 conference mark.
As for the opposing Rams, they enter a crucial home match for first place against Dayton on Friday riding high at 9-0.

“We stuck to our game plan well and had consistent energy and support throughout the entire match, which will be crucial in the upcoming [road] games against La Salle and Duquesne,” said Lahr.