Volleyball swept by Dayton, falls to third in A-10

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Saint Louis women’s volleyball has consistently been one of the stronger teams in A-10 volleyball, but unfortunately, there has been one team that is utterly dominant. Since 2010, the Dayton Flyers have won five out of six A-10 tournaments, and Saint Louis needs to look back to 2008 to see their last A-10 tournament victory.

The Dayton vs. Saint Louis matchup on Oct. 28 proved to be more of the same. Dayton’s status as the A-10’s top dog continued, as they knocked off SLU in a 3-0 sweep. The result mirrors Dayton’s sweep over SLU in the reverse matchup held at Chaifetz Pavilion earlier this season, and SLU will have to make major adjustments to stand a chance at an upset in the conference tournament.

The first set against Dayton saw senior outside hitter Danielle Rygelski notch five kills. However, Dayton’s overpowering attack recorded a .433 attacking percentage, making Rygelski’s valiant effort all in vain. SLU lost the first set 25-18.

The second set saw SLU fall in short order to a soaring Flyers team, as the Billikens lost 25-13. Rygelski managed four kills in the set. The third set, coming after the ten-minute break, was the closest of the three sets, but the Flyers still came out on top, 25-22. Rygelski recorded seven kills in that final set.

On the defensive side, junior outside hitter Nenye Okoro was a leader for the Billikens, recording 12 digs. SLU’s defense was strong generally against the Flyers in the third set, holding Dayton to a .100 attack percentage and making them earn each and every one of their points.

SLU will be back in action this weekend, with a pair of road games in Pennsylvania. They will first play a rematch against La Salle in Philadelphia, Pa. SLU defeated La Salle by three sets to none earlier this season, and will hope for a similar result to keep pace in the Atlantic 10 conference standings. Afterwards, they will take on Duquesne in Pittsburgh, Pa. The Billikens defeated the Dukes earlier this season as well, three sets to one, and will hope for another victory.

Currently, SLU stands at third place in the conference, behind a perfect 10-0 Dayton and a strong 9-2 Rhode Island squad. While overtaking Dayton may be a tough ask, SLU will hope to so that they can win their games to take advantage of any stumble from the Rhode Island Rams.

Senior setter Ashley Gagen commented on the tough loss to Dayton and on their upcoming road match-ups, and how they represent the final build up to conference play. “Dayton is a really tough team that we will have to go through in our path to the NCAA tournament. While we are a disappointed with the loss, we are confident that with a few more weeks of practice and preparation, we will be ready for them the third time around. This weekend is our last time on the road for the season. Our goal is always to win, but we also hope to gain some momentum in the La Salle and Duquesne games that will help carry us into postseason play,” she said.

The Atlantic 10 has a host of teams that are just behind Saint Louis in the standings. Duquesne sits in fourth place at 7-4, while VCU, also with a 7-4 record, is in fifth place. Depending on how the standings finish up by the end of the season, it is very likely that SLU will end up playing against either of those two teams in the first round of the A-10 tournament.

The A-10 conference tournament will be held in Chaifetz Pavilion starting on Nov. 18 and finishing on Nov. 20. Dayton is likely to finish as the top seed, and unless SLU can mount a comeback, Rhode Island has the second seed nearly locked up.