Volleyball team loses in close sets to Rhode Island

SLU women’s volleyball traveled to New York to take on Fordham on Friday, Oct. 30, before making a short jaunt to Kingston, to take on Rhode Island on Saturday, Oct. 31. The matches marked SLU’s final 2015 regular-season, away matches. SLU swept Fordham 3-0 but fell in five sets to Rhode Island, 3-2. The results bring SLU to an 8-3 record in the A-10, and a 19-8 record overall. SLU maintained second place in the A-10 standings with the win and loss, but has the same number of losses as 7-3 George Washington, who have played one conference match fewer than SLU has.

The Fordham victory brought a personal milestone for one of SLU’s most consistent performers the past three seasons. Senior setter Meredith Boe recorded 29 assists, for 1003 on the season, her third consecutive 1000-assist season. She is only the second Billiken to achieve this landmark.

Boe’s assists consistently fed junior outside hitter Danielle Rygelski, throughout the match. Rygelski had three kills in the first set, which SLU won 25-22, with seven kills and a .412 attack percentage in the second set, for a blowout 25-13 win. Boe then added three kills in the third and final set, to supplement sophomore, outside hitter Nenye Okoro’s four kills, which brought SLU to 25-23 set victory, for the match win. Sophomore middle blocker Lauren Leverenz also put in a solid performance, with eight kills on 15 attempts, for a .400 attack percentage.

Saint Louis University women’s volleyball then travelled to Kingston, for a match against Rhode Island, whom SLU had beaten in five sets, earlier in the season, at home. This match, however, went to Rhode Island in another five-set encounter. SLU won the first set, 26-24, but lost the second 15-25. SLU rebounded after the break with a strong 25-22 performance, but ultimately fell to a stubborn Rhode Island squad, losing the fourth set 18-25 and then the deciding fifth set 8-15.

The loss came despite Rygelski’s 19 kills in the match. Junior middle blocker Taylor Paulson also turned in a quality match, with 11 kills on 19 attempts and three errors, for a .421 attack percentage, while Boe put up 48 assists. SLU had strong service throughout the match, with a team-high seven aces.

SLU will welcome George Mason and George Washington to Chaifetz Pavilion on Nov. 6 and Nov. 8, respectively. While SLU might expect to defeat George Mason, the George Washington match could be close and might prove crucial to postseason seeding, with George Washington’s 7-3 A-10 record only slightly behind Saint Louis University’s 8-3.

Junior setter Ashley Gagen is looking forward to the pivotal matchup against George Washington: “The game this Sunday is extremely important, especially considering George Washington always puts up a tough fight. If we beat the Colonials, we’ll be in a good position to get second place in the conference, which comes with a first-round bye. That would allow us to scout other A-10 teams and rest our own players before competing in the A-10 tournament.”

The women finish their regular season against rival Dayton on Nov. 14 in Chaifetz Pavillion at 1 p.m.  The A-10 tournament will take place on Nov. 20-22 in Washington D.C., hosted by George Washington.