By: Jackson Krug
On a night where “We Slay” t-shirts were passed out to an excited crowd, the Rams’ abysmal 1-5 record was uniformly forgotten among the Rams fans. Coach Jody Rogers and the A-10 reigning champs would not let their record deter their play against a formidable opponent in the Georgetown Hoyas. The Hoyas entered the game with a 4-4 record, coming off a tough 3-2 loss to UNC Wilmington.
It was a humid Tuesday night at the Siegel Center during VCU’s second home game of the season. As such, the Rams got off to a quick start, showing no signs of frustration or lack of motivation from their previous loss to Pitt. Junior Vicky Giommarini was electric to begin with, as she was clobbering spikes and kills that were nearly impossible for the Hoyas to respond to. The Rams executed the first set brilliantly, carefully targeting the Italian phenom as their go-to punch. Coming off the bench, Senior Julia Adler contributed to the mix, blocking shots and accounting for a few points. The Rams cruised to a 25-16 first set victory, causing a frustrated Hoyas coach, Toby Rens, to call two timeouts during the set. It became evident that the Hoyas came ill-prepared for a determined VCU squad.
The second set, however, started off as a much more competitive set, as the score eventually saw an 11-11 tie. With the help of Junior Gina Tuzzolo, VCU suddenly sparked off a few rallies and started to run away with the set, prompting Georgetown to call yet another timeout. Tuzzolo, along with Giommarini, were effectively landing spikes and causing more havoc for the Hoyas. However, after a few careless mistakes and errors regarding miscommunication among the Rams, Georgetown went on a 10-3 run, managing to steal the second set 25-22 and tying the match at one set apiece.
Now with the momentum in Georgetown’s favor, Iva Vujosevic and Georgetown made sure to continue their attack. Georgetown looked absolutely in control, going up 18-11 in the third set and translating their run into a 28-14 rally dating back to the second set. A frustrated Rams coach could be seen in Jody Rogers as she called a timeout immediately to sort things out. Suddenly, the game plan focused even more on the 6-2 Tuzzolo. Tuzzolo could be seen unleashing balls of fury at the opposition, as her violent arm whips were intimidating the Hoyas. Senior Tori Baldwin made a big impact on defense, deflecting spikes and potential kills that were coming her way. This set instantly became an exhilarating one as VCU tied it at 20-20. After a few hard fought points and the score tied at 24-24, the Rams managed to win the final two points and take the set 26-24. The crowd cheered emphatically for the Rams, who went on a 15-6 run to steal the set from the Hoyas and go up 2 sets to 1 in the match.
With the Rams back in the driver’s seat, Georgetown now needed to win two sets to win this match. After a 13-12 start in favor of the Rams, Tuzzolo and Giommarini stayed relentless in their attacks. The game plan was working and the Rams were running away with it. At match point, the Senior combination of Adler and Baldwin blocked a Georgetown spike that landed back on the Hoyas side and thus ended the game. The Rams took the fourth and final set 25-17, capping off an exciting game that saw back-and-forth action. The Rams improved to 2-5 on the season, showing that the “We Slay” mentality is just what they needed to get back in the win column.