Saint Louis Volleyball ended their three-week road stint with two wins this past weekend. The Billikens welcomed Atlantic 10 newcomer George Mason with a 3-1 win Friday night and went on to sweep the La Salle Explorers 3-0 Sunday.
George Mason opened the match hitting an impressive .375 in the first set. The Billikens tied the score at five but the Patriots answered with a 7-2 run. SLU closed the gap to 10-14 but the lead grew as large as a 10-point deficit for the Billikens. The Patriots took the first set 15-25.
SLU responded to this initial loss and picked up all facets of their game. As a team, the Billikens notched a .414 hitting efficiency holding the Patriots at .000. Sophomore Megan Gilbert was unstoppable with six kills on seven attacks in the second set. SLU closed out the second set 25-16.
Out of the break the Billiken offense continued to shine, opening the third set with a 10-1 lead. Mason pulled within five at 15-10 but Freshman Danielle Rygelski’s six kills paced the Billikens to a 25-14 win. The deciding set was the closest of the evening. Nine tie scores, the final at 18-18 made for a tightly contested set. Freshman Mallory Dillon led the Billikens on a four-point run to take the lead 22-18. SLU closed out the match 25-21.
SLU carried this momentum into Sunday’s match with a sweep of the La Salle Explorers (25-14, 25-14, 26-24). In the first set, SLU maintained a comfortable lead controlling the match by 11 points near the end. Dillon’s five kills led the Bills offensive efforts and guided SLU to a 25-14 win.
The second set began with an early 6-1 lead for the Billikens. The Explorers cut the lead down to three early on but SLU’s dominant defense held the Explorers to a .000 attack percentage.
In set three La Salle put up a determined fight leading the Billikens 8-7. The Explorers then notched a four-point run prompting a Billiken timeout at 18-16. SLU refocused with a 3-0 run of their own and the teams continued to exchange points until the end. A Dillon service ace closed out the set 26-24.
The Billikens were led by Gilbert, who led the match with a .438 hitting percentage, her third consecutive match with a .300 hitting efficiency or higher.
Rygelski was named the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week for her efforts over the weekend. This is the second consecutive week she has earned the accolade. Rygelski recorded he seventh double-double of the season with 18 kills and 12 digs against the Patriots Friday nights. She also recorded a team-best 28 kills on a .273 attack percentage across both matches.
Rygelski and the Billikens return to Chaifetz this weekend hosting the Duquesne Dukes Friday, Oct. 11th at 7 p.m. and the Fordham Rams Sunday, Oct. 13th at 1 p.m.