William and Mary hosted Virginia Commonwealth at Kaplan Arena Aug. 16 in an exhibition. Starting off the new season with a scrimmage, the Tribe ultimately fell 3-1 to the Rams — though all 14 rostered players were able make their debut.
In the first set, the College kept a close score against VCU, trailing 21-20 in the frame. However, VCU eventually took a 25-21 opening-round win despite four Tribe players registering three kills each.
In set two, the Tribe continuedto falter 25-20 and subsequently 25-19 in the third set, although sophomore outside hitter Lauren Merrill proved she was a skilled attacker — racking up five kills in each of the two stanzas.
Merrill lead the Tribe to a 25-18 win in the fourth set with five more kills, giving her 18 that evening. Junior opposite hitter Kate Dedrick and sophomore outside hitter Claire Farrell each were able to contribute four rally enders, as sophomore setter Zeyanna Dhalla dished out 11 assists with the Tribe hitting .324 in the final frame.
“We really started to find our groove late in the match,” head coach Tim Doyle said to Tribe Athletics. “VCU is a championship team, so it was a good test for us to see the level we need to bring to a game. We had six freshmen play in their first college match so that comfort level will only continue to rise. I was happy with our ability to pass and keep our offense running. Finishing the way we did certainly generates some momentum moving forward.”
The Tribe will have the rest of the preseason to focus on the season-opening doubleheader against Quinnipac and Morgan State Aug. 30. Subsequently, the Tribe will visit Xavier for a two-day tournament before hosting the Colonial Classic at Kaplan Arena Sep. 13-14.