How it Happened
After fighting back from a 2-0 deficit and forcing a fifth set, Rhode Island fell 3-2 to Saint Louis Billikins in a back-and-fourth affair Friday night.
The Rams (6-12, 1-5 Atlantic 10) and Billikins (11-8, 5-1 A-10) exchanged points for most of the opening set. Knotted up at five apiece, the Rams put together a 3-0 run thanks in part to two kills from redshirt junior Natale Zanellato. From that point, there were six ties. Facing triple set point, Rhode Island staved off the first two on a kill from senior Hazel Brown and an attack error by the Billikens to cut the deficit to 24-23. However, the Billikens scored on their next serve to secure the opening set, 25-23.
Rhode Island started the second set off strong, taking a 10-6 lead after back-to-back Mariah Paulette kills. However, Saint Louis took its first lead of the set, 11-10, on the strength of a 5-0 run. Back-and-fourth action was the theme. With Rhode Island up, 21-19, another Paullette kill gave the Rams a three-point cushion. From there, the Billikens rattled off a 6-1 run to take the second set, 25-23.
With 18 ties and the largest lead from either team being three points, the third set was tightly contested. The score was tied 24-24 before consecutive kills from Zanellato and freshman Claire Wagner clinched the set in favor of Rhody and extended the match.
URI was sharp in the fourth set as well. The Rams only trailed once early in the contest, at 4-3, and led by at least four on 11 different occasions. The Rams led 24-20 when the Billikins scored on back-to-back serves before a service error by Kennedy Cordia forced a deciding fifth set.
The fifth set was a microcosm of the match. The Billikins and Rams swapped points and were knotted as 12 apiece. Saint Louis then scored on its next three serves to win 15-12.
Inside the Box Score
- Redshirt junior Natale Zanellato led the Rams with 14 kills and a .429 attack percentage.
- Sophomores Gabrielle Shilling and Mariah Paulette added 13 and 11 kills, respectively.
- Junior Annie Ell had a team-high 24 assists.
- Freshman Adel Gage was right behind Ell with 22 assists.
- Sophomore Ella Ratzloff led the team with 19 digs.
- Senior Hazel Brown finished the match with nine kills and 14 digs.
The Rams welcome the Dayton Flyers to Kingston on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m.