Fordham Volleyball Drops Three at Home

Despite battling injury woes and suffering three losses this past weekend to teams at the top of the Atlantic 10, Fordham knows that its postseason chances lie in its own hands with t home-and-home set against Rhode Island to end the regular season.

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Volleyball must come together as a team through adversity to extend beyond its regular season. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

Gigi Speer, Staff Writer

With two games left in the regular season and two starters out, the Fordham Rams will host the University of Rhode Island this Friday, Nov. 12 at 5:00 p.m in Rose Hill Gym. Heading into the weekend, they are coming off a three game home stint, dropping matches against No. 2 Saint Louis, No. 3 VCU, and No. 4 Davidson.

Friday night’s game against the Saint Louis Billikens was a five-set thriller, that saw 60 kills as a team from the Rams, along with 30 errors from the visiting team. Top 10 in the NCAA in aces, the Rams’ defense held the Billikens to five aces, seven less than their last match-up against the serving powerhouse. 

When the two teams faced each other earlier in the season, SLU swept the Rams in Missouri, yet on Friday, the teams went back and forth: 20-25, 25-17,  21-25, 26-24, 11-15. This is only the Rams fourth match to five sets, and now have a .500 record when they take it all the way to five.

Not only did the Rams’ defense standout, the offense put on a show, with 13 blocks, three aces and a .183 hitting percentage. Senior Bella Urena led the way, matching her career high of 18 kills at a .384 clip, and a career-high seven blocks. With Joey Landeros out, senior Clare O’Neil got her first start of the season, notching 13 kills, and fellow middle blocker Izzy Fichtel added 11 and led the team with eight blocks. Sophomore outside hitter Whitley Moody had a double-double, with both 10 kills and digs. Sophomore setter Megan Brzozowski also added a double-double, with 49 assists and 12 digs, not to mention her four blocks and an ace. 

The squad worked together and forced their worthy opponent to commit errors. Moody notes, “We’re really happy that its still in our hands whether we make the A-10 tournament or not. We have to win both games against Rhode Island and I know we’re capable. It was a tough weekend of losses to say the least, we’re gonna give our all on in practice this week and hopefully have positive outcomes this weekend.”

The games didn’t get any easier for the Rams throughout the weekend, though the standing of the opponents dropped each day. On Saturday, the VCU Rams swept the Fordham Rams 20-25, 23-25, 21-25. The hosts led the visitors in both blocks and aces, with 9 and 4, respectively. However, the visitors outhit Fordham by 17 kills at a .246 clip, and also had 10 more assists. Urena once again led the team with 13 kills, and Chloe Pejouan started and picked up six blocks in the game. Aria De La Rosa also added 6 kills and three blocks in the loss. 

The following day saw another sweep, as the Rams dropped to Davidson 25-17, 25-22 and 25-22 to round out the weekend in Rose Hill Gymnasium. Moody led the team on Sunday with 12 kills, three blocks and one ace, while Fichtel had eight kills and five blocks before suffering an ankle injury in the last set.

With both Fichtel and senior Joey Landeros out, Moody says, “With two starters out, its especially tough on team morale. An already tough season coming to a close, these two players out is like losing pieces to a puzzle. Trying to finish the season out like this when we’re incomplete is gonna be tough.”

The next two games against Rhode Island are must-wins, in order for the Rams to secure their No. 6 spot and bid to the Atlantic 10 tournament. Last year was the first time they had made the playoffs in a decade, and the depth and strength of their roster gave them the predicted No. 4 spot in the preseason coaches’ poll.

Fordham will play Rhode Island at 5 p.m. at home on Friday, before traveling to Kingstown, Rhode Island on Sunday.