After a disappointing 0-3 loss at Duquesne to open conference play, SLU Volleyball was determined to get back on track Sunday against long-time foe University of Dayton.
Dayton, ranked as high as 22nd in the nation early this season, fell to SLU in an exciting 5 set thriller.
“I’m really proud of how we performed and worked hard as a team to beat Dayton,” sophomore setter Meredith Boe said. “It was a team effort and took every single person to give us the advantage. I’m really excited to compete at this high level with a great group of girls for the duration of the season.”
SLU opened the match controlling the set with a 5-2 lead. An attack error at 9-9 shifted the momentum in favor of the Flyers and propelled UD to a 7-2 run. Dayton pushed the gap to 20-13 and closed out the set at 25-15.
The second set featured a more balanced performance. Dayton had the lead at 15-13 and, five ties later, the teams were deadlocked 23-23. A Flyer kill gave Dayton the game point advantage and they edged out the Bills 25-23.
Out of the break, SLU made a 7-0 run midway through the third set. Dayton rallied back to put the score within five at 19-14, but SLU was unstoppable hitting .371 and closing out the set 25-18. The fourth set was another battle but the freshmen dynamic duo Danielle Rygelski and Mallory Dillon contributed a combined 10 kills for a 25-21 victory for the Billikens.
Tie-breaking sets have proved to pose a unique challenge for the Billikens in current and former seasons. However, it appears the curse lifted Sunday night as the Billikens broke away from an 11-11 tie to win the match 15-12.
Rygelski recorded her sixth double-double of the season with 15 kills and 11 blocks; Dillon also turned in a match-high 17 kills. Meredith Boe notched an impressive 52 assists and Jessica Jendryk led the Billikens with a .545 hitting percentage.
The victory was just that much sweeter for senior transfer Jendryk. Jendryk faced her younger sister, Dayton setter Jenna Jendryk, through the net last weekend.
“My sister and I have been competing against each other for years but this was the first time we have been able to play across the net from each other,” Jendryk commented. “I thought Jenna played really well running the offense, and I am proud to be her big sister. It was definitely a fun match for our family to watch; they get really into the game, but this time they had to take a neutral position.”
Rygelski was named Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week for her performance this weekend. Rygelski led the Bills with 29 kills in two matches (3.62 per set) and also recorded a total of 25 digs and 8 blocks. She currently ranks fourth in conference for kills per set and third in Atlantic 10 matches.
Rygelski and the Billikens continue Atlantic 10 play this weekend when they travel to newcomer George Mason October 4, at 6 p.m. and La Salle October 5, at 6 p.m.