RICHMOND, Va. - Saint Louis rebounded from a close first-set loss to even the match, but VCU pulled away in the third and fourth frames and posted a 29-27, 22-25, 25-17, 25-19 Atlantic 10 Conference victory over the Billikens Friday afternoon at the Siegel Center Auxiliary Gym.
First-year A-10 member VCU improved to 18-3 overall and 4-2 in league play. SLU fell to 6-14, 1-5.
Carly Marcum registered team highs of 11 kills and four blocks for the Bills. Megan Gilbert had nine kills, Lindsey Dinkelacker tallied eight, and Lauren Baumet and Anna Church collected seven apiece. Baumet registered a .455 attack percentage (7-2-11).
Grace Bonoma and Church recorded 16 and 12 digs, respectively, while Clarke had 35 assists and nine digs.
VCU led 17-10 in set one before Saint Louis rallied to forge an 18-18 tie. The Rams had set point at 24-22 but couldn't close, while the Billikens were a point away twice with leads of 26-25 and 27-26. A 3-0 run gave VCU the win.
VCU owned a 17-12 advantage in set two, only to see Saint Louis put together a 9-3 spurt to grab a 21-20 edge. The Rams pulled even, but the Billikens scored four of the next five points to even the match.
The Billikens struck quickly in set three and were on top 4-1 before a 12-4 flurry gave the Rams a 13-8 lead. SLU answered with a 6-0 run of its own to reclaim the upper hand. The set was tied at 14 and 15 before VCU finished with a 10-2 outburst.
In set four, the Bills overcame an early deficit and knotted the count at 11. VCU's attempt to pull away was slowed once, with Saint Louis narrowing a 17-12 deficit to 18-16. However, that was as close as the Billikens would get.
Saint Louis plays at Charlotte Sunday afternoon.