Volleyball’s streak ends at 15 with loss to VCU


SLU Women’s Volleyball improved their winning streak to 15 games, the fourth-longest active streak in the NCAA and second longest in school history. The streak was extended with a 3-2 win over George Washington and a 3-0 sweep of George Mason. The conference wins move SLU to 6-0 in the A-10 and 17-5 overall following the match with George Mason.

SLU’s defeating of George Washington started with a strong first set by junior outside hitter Danielle Rygelski, who had six kills to lead the Billikens to a 25-16 set win. Rygelski followed up with four kills and no errors in the second set to help SLU along to a 25-15 win. SLU lost a close third set, 26-24, despite three kills with no errors apiece from junior middle blocker Taylor Paulson and senior middle blocker Megan Gilbert. Paulson then added four kills on only five attacks without an error in the fourth set, but the Billikens fell in another close set, 27-25, forcing a fifth.

However, sophomore outside hitter Nenye Okoro turned in a potent attacking performance in the fifth set, with five kills on seven attacks, to lead SLU to a 15-13 win, which gave SLU the match.

Senior setter Meredith Boe turned in four service aces for the match, while also adding 48 assists to move into second place on SLU’s all-time career assists list. Meanwhile, sophomore defensive specialist Mackenzie Long recorded 20 digs, the third-highest total for a Billiken this season. In addition, Rygelski, who had a total of 16 kills and 10 digs, and Boe, who had 15 digs in addition to her 48 assists, both recorded double-doubles. Paulson was SLU’s most efficient attacker, with a .520 hitting percentage and 14 kills, while Gilbert’s 10 kills gave her 1000 kills for SLU, making her the 14th Billiken to record 1000 career kills.

SLU volleyball then turned their attention to George Mason and swept them in a straightforward 3-0 match win. The opening set saw Gilbert tally three kills from three attacks for a perfect attacking percentage to lead SLU to a 25-15 win. Set two then saw Gilbert and Rygelski each post four kills with no errors, which helped the Billikens to a .407 team attack percentage and a 25-16 victory. Rygelski then took over the final set of the match with six kills, leading SLU to a 25-19 win.

The Billikens took a large number of their points in the match from service aces, with Rygelski tallying four and Long recording three. Gilbert was SLU’s most efficient attacker, with 11 kills on only 18 attacks for a .611 attack percentage, SLU’s second-best attack percentage this season. SLU also moved to a perfect 6-0 on the road this season.

SLU moved to the top of the conference based on overall record, as both SLU and Dayton had raced out to perfect 6-0 conference records at the time.

However, SLU Women’s Volleyball split their weekend matches, with their 15-match winning streak snapping in a five-set loss to VCU before rebounding in a 3-1 victory against Davidson. The games brought SLU to an 18-6 overall record and a 7-1 conference record, good for second in the A-10 only behind 8-0 Dayton.

SLU’s first match was a narrow five-set loss to VCU. SLU lost the first set 25-23, despite six assists and two kills from three attacks from Boe. SLU lost the second set by the same score line, 25-23, despite Rygelski posting five kills on seven attacks with no errors and Okoro adding six kills.

SLU rebounded after the break to win the third set, 25-22, behind a strong team defensive performance, as VCU was held to a .000 attack percentage. The fourth set also came down to the wire, as SLU won 25-23, aided by Rygelski’s seven kills in the set. SLU, however, fell in the deciding fifth set 16-14, despite a .348 team attack percentage. The broken win streak was SLU’s second longest in school history.

Despite the loss, Rygelski performed well, posting 23 kills, the team’s second-highest total in a match this season. Meanwhile, Boe also posted a strong overall performance, with 49 assists, the fourth-most for SLU in a single match this season. Okoro, meanwhile, recorded her fifth double-double of the season, with 18 kills and 16 digs. The loss dropped SLU to 4-5 in five-set matches.

SLU rebounded with a 3-1 win against Davidson behind a strong performance from Rygelski, who recorded 15 kills on the match, the highest of any player. Boe added a total of 44 assists in the match, and Rygelski posted her 12th double-double of the season with 15 kills and 11 digs. Okoro recorded her sixth double-double of the year, with 11 kills and 15 digs.

The first set of the match went to Dayton in a close 25-23 contest, in spite of Boe’s 15 assists. The rest of the match proved to be all SLU, however, as SLU controlled the second set, 25-13, through a strong defensive performance, holding Davidson to a .037 attack percentage. Then, Boe’s 13 assists and Rygelski’s four kills led SLU to a set three win, 25-14, while Boe’s two kills and nine assists finished off the Billiken win in the fourth set, which was won 25-21.

Next up for the Billikens will be an away match at Dayton, a conference match with big implications. The Billikens are currently second in the A-10, while Dayton is first, meaning that A-10 championship seeding could potentially be impacted by the result of the match. This will be the first of three road games for the Billikens before they finish up the regular season at home.

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