Volleyball sweeps two games at home

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Volleyball sweeps two games at home

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An emphatic 3-0 sweep of George Washington was the highlight of a two-win weekend for Saint Louis University women’s volleyball.

The win against the Colonials, as well as a 3-1 victory against the George Mason Patriots, capped off a return to winning ways for the Billikens, who had previously dropped two of their last three against conference contenders Dayton and Rhode Island.

The Billikens first faced off against George Mason at Chaifetz Pavilion. Senior middle blocker Megan Gilbert led the Billikens to a first set 25-17 win, with four kills on four attacks.

The Billikens also served well in the first set, with sophomore defensive specialist Mackenzie Long recording three aces and junior outside hitter Danielle Rygelski recording two. However, the Patriots tied the match at one set apiece with a strong second set victory over the Billikens, 25-18.

SLU rebounded after the break with a strong team offensive performance. As a whole, the team posted an attack percentage of .367 and recorded a comfortable 25-19 victory. The Billikens then finished off the match with a 25-13 set-four victory.

Rygelski turned in a strong performance in the fourth set, with six kills on eight attacks for a .750 attack percentage.

Rygelski led all players in kills in the match, with 16, while Gilbert was SLU’s most efficient attacker, with a .529 attack percentage from 12 kills on 17 attacks and only three errors. Rygelski’s 16 kills also came with 12 digs for her 13th double-double of the season.

SLU followed up the win against the George Mason Patriots with a victory against the George Washington Colonials, 3-0. SLU had already won the reverse fixture in Washington, D.C. 3-2, but this match did not prove as close.

SLU won the first set 25-21, with Rygelski leading the Billiken attack with seven kills. The second set was a close back-and-forth affair, but the Billikens won, 28-26. Rygelski once again added seven kills, and then posted another seven kills in the third set to finish the sweep with a 25-20 set-three victory.

Rygelski’s strong attacking performance allowed the Billiken middle blockers to thrive, as Gilbert and junior middle blocker Taylor Paulson both hit .500 or over in the match. Meanwhile, senior setter Meredith Boe orchestrated the attack with 40 assists over the three matches.

In addition, both Paulson and Rygelski recorded five blocks each in the match.

With the victory, SLU’s women’s volleyball team is proving itself to be one of the best teams in recent memory. SLU is now 21-8 overall, and 10-3 in the A-10. It is the first time that SLU has posted ten or more Atlantic-10 wins since the 2011 season.

Rygelski was also named Atlantic-10 Player of the Week, her fourth Player of the Week honor of the season.

SLU will close the season against Dayton. While the match will not affect playoff seeding, as Dayton has already clinched first place with a 13-0 conference record and SLU is locked into the second seed, a win for the Billikens could provide valuable momentum going into the following week’s conference championship in Washington, D.C.