By: Keith Radd, Staff Writer
The University of Dayton volleyball team is the No. 1 blocking team in the country, and used this advantage to pick up two home wins last week.
The Flyer block stuffed Fordham University on Friday, Oct. 18, and the University of Rhode Island on Sunday, Oct. 20, at the Frericks Center to improve to a .500 record. UD is now 10-10 overall and 4-4 in the conference.
Dayton now leads the country with 3.07 blocks per set.
On Friday, the Flyers took down the Fordham Rams in four sets (18-25, 25-15, 25-15, 25-9). After struggling with consistency this season, junior middle blocker Isolde Hannan was happy with the team’s play after losing the first set.
“We took what we did in that first game and changed everything,” Hannan said. “We came out strong behind the service line, up at the net. It was just a mentality flip.”
Fordham out-killed the Flyers 15-8 in the first set. From that point on, Dayton reversed things over the Rams, 34-24. More importantly, Dayton’s attackers only committed six attack errors in the final three sets after committing eight in the first set.
Head coach Matt Affolder was pleased with the disciplined attack and noted that the fluid consistency was possible thanks to some good passing from the back row.
“The whole back row played really well,” Affolder said. “They were really scrappy and made good adjustments. They were developing touches and digs that we hadn’t been seeing for the last couple of weeks.”
Sophomore setter Jenna Jendryk was able to make good sets to her hitters off of the good passing. Jendryk set 35 assists in the match and her hitters were able to swing a percentage of .277, the highest total since Oct. 4 against La Salle University.
On Sunday, URI met the same fate as Fordham, and fell in three sets at the hands of the Flyer block (25-23, 25-18, 25-21). In only three sets, UD compiled 13.5 team blocks.
Affolder said he was happy with the effort, but see the potential for more blocking.
“We’re doing some really good things with our block,” Affolder said. “But we talk with them too about ‘how many balls did we miss?’”
UD entered the URI game after falling in five sets to the Rams on the road last week in Kingston, R.I.
Hannan said she used the revenge factor as smart motivation.
“We changed our game plan,” Hannan said. “We were going to take care of the deep corner shots they had. We had to take care of what really hurt us last week.”
Layne Self, the Rams’ freshman middle blocker who slammed a career-high 18 kills against Dayton a week ago, only had five kills and hit .071 for the match.
“We certainly took things away,” Affolder said. “Rhode Island poses some difficulties and they’re a scrappy team. But I thought our servers were strong. They were really going after it and caused Rhode Island some problems.”
With the win, the Flyers are 4-2 in the last six matches and have moved up two spots to fifth place in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
“We’re trying to keep building and finding ways to get better,” Affolder said. “We’re building momentum as we go through this conference schedule.”
Up next, the Flyers will travel to Pittsburgh, Pa. to face the second-place Duquesne University Dukes. The Dukes are first in the conference with a .223 hitting percentage. Junior middle blocker Arielle Love’s .351 hitting percentage places her second in the A-10, while freshman middle blocker Lacey Levers’ .333 swing percentage is fourth in the conference.
All games can be heard on DaytonFlyers.com.