WASHINGTON—The Atlantic 10 Conference will have a first-time volleyball champion come Sunday afternoon.
Second-seeded VCU (25-7) swept No. 3 George Washington 3-0 Saturday evening in the 2013 Atlantic 10 Volleyball Championship semifinals to advance to Sunday’s finals. It set up a showdown between the top two seeds, No.1 Duquesne, and the Rams. It will be the first trip to the title match, which begins at 1:00 pm, for either team. The winner receives the league’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
VCU won a hard-fought first set to set the tone for the remainder of the match. GW had set point at 24-23 after a kill by Gabrial Rushton, but Uzoamaka Ibeh got a kill to tie the match at 24. VCU then got blocks from Nora Reed and Kalah Jones to take the advantage, but Kelsey Newman tied it at 25 with a kill for GW. A Colonials’ service error and blocks by Jones, Reed and Kaitlyn Lamantia gave VCU the 27-25 win.
VCU got five kills from Jones and four from Romana Kriskova to pace the Rams offense in set two. The Colonials took an early 3-0 lead, but VCU fired off the next nine points taking advantage of a series of GW errors and getting blocks from Lamantia, Ibeh and blcoks and kills from Janelle Sykes. The Colonials closed the gap late scoring four straight while VCU was stuck on set point, but the Rams won 25-19 on a Jones kill.
Jones, who had a match-high 11 kills and hit .333, tallied five kills and hit .625 in the final set to lead VCU to the 25-18 win.
The set was tied at eight, but an 8-2 Ram run gave VCU a six-point cushion. A Landon Garvik kill got GW back within three, but that was as close at the Colonials got the rest of the way.
A-10 Libero of the Year, Love had a match-high 27 digs. Sykes had seven blocks to lead the Rams.
George Washington was led by Chidima Osuchukwu, who had 10 kills, hit .429 and had four blocks. Maddy Doyle had 10 digs for the Colonials, who close the season out at 16-14 overall and 10-4 in the A-10.