PHILADELPHIA – Digging in to win a thrilling fifth set, the Explorers defeated Rhode Island, 3-2 (12-25, 25-23, 25-18, 15-25, 17-15) on Saturday afternoon at Tom Gola Arena.
“It was a great win for our team,” head coach Dave Stever said. “It’s been a few years since we beat Rhode Island. It was nice to close out the weekend with a win as we look forward to Temple on Thursday.”
The Rams (9-8, 1-2 A-10) won the fourth set to tie the match at two-all and would go up 5-3 to begin the deciding set.
La Salle (5-16, 1-3 A-10) came back to tie it at 6 and then would take an 8-6 lead after a kill by sophomore Rachel Finkbeiner.
Leading 10-8, the Explorers would drop three straight points to let the Rams take an 11-10 lead. A Jacquelyn Mitrovich kill and Breanna Mazalewski ace gave the advantage back to La Salle, but again the Rams would go up 14-13.
With the Rams facing set point, a Tulskie kill evened the score at 14. After Jill Anderson hit a winner for Rhode Island, Finkbeiner leveled the score again with a kill of her own.
A Mitrovich winner followed by a Rams’ error sealed the 17-15 set victory for the Explorers.
Juniors Kelly Scanlon and Samantha Tulskie added double-doubles of 10 kills and 18 digs and 10 kills and 19 digs, respectively. Mitrovich led La Salle with 12 kills.
Senior Kourtney Clark had a match-high 40 assists, while Mazalewski contributed a match-high 21 digs.
For the Rams, Britta Baarstad posted a match-high 20 kills.
The Rams made quick work of La Salle in the first set, 25-12, but the Explorers would be able to shake it off.
Playing a close second set, the Blue and Gold were able to take a 19-16 advantage after two kills by freshman Jennifer Whelan and two Rams’ errors.
Rhode Island got back in the game and would go ahead 21-20, but that was the last lead it would hold.
Using a 5-2 run, La Salle closed out the set, with the winning kill coming from Clark.
In the third set, a 14-3 Explorers’ run put the team up 17-9 and it would take the set 25-18.
The Explorers end the week at 2-1 after also defeating Rider, but falling to Fordham.