Framingham took on both Salve Regina and Rhode Island College in home games Sept. 14.
The first matchup came against the Salve Regina Seahawks. The Rams suffered a 0-3 straight-set loss as they never found their rhythm.
In the first game, the Rams lost their starting outside hitter to injury.
Anna Szymanski, the outside hitter who had to leave the game, led the Rams in kills for the match, so it was a tough loss for Framingham.
She injured herself when she went up for a spike and landed awkwardly upon returning to the ground.
Coach Richard Casali said, “She rolled her ankle on the play. It was an aggressive play. Things happen, unfortunately.”
After the loss, Casali and the team sat down on a staircase by the coaches’ office for a discussion.
“We had a long talk. We’re young in the season and we’re walking the fence right now,” Casali said. “Which way are we going to fall? Are we going to give up and fall on the bad side and have a bad season? Or are we going to fall on the good side and win this next game?”
After the talk, the Rams took the court again to face off against the Rhode Island College Anchormen.
The talk clearly worked, as Framingham stormed out to a 25-13 first-set win with ease.
They kept up the dominance as they took the second set by a score of 25-9.
When everything seemed to be going the Rams’ way, the Anchormen hit back with a 25-15 third-set win to close the margin.
In the fourth set, Framingham kept the lead throughout thanks to Brandee Thomas’ repeated spikes that blew past opposing defenders.
Libero Alyssa Cafarelli guarded her back and the rest of the team with numerous digs.
The two replacement starters who came in when Szymanski went down made the greatest impact for Framingham. One of them was Natalie Reed.
Toward the end of the fourth set, Rhode Island College began to push back, generating point after point.
If the Anchormen had gotten back – to – back set wins, that would have given them the advantage over Framingham heading into the final set.
But when the set was at its very end, Brandey Rodriguez stepped up.
The team racked up many late set points due to her serves, and ultimately, got the game-winning point from a play by Rodriguez.
RIC had an open shot off a return spike. Their spiker set up and hit the ball over to Framingham’s end.
When the ball was eventually falling to the ground off a one-touch hit by a Framingham blocker, it nearly hit the ground. But Rodriguez dove out of bounds and saved the ball with her hand, and the Rams scored later due to that save and won the game.
Casali said, “To be honest with you it shocked me. She does a lot of things well, but that is not her best trait. She did a great job on that play.”
He added, “This may have been her best game all year.”
Framingham won the fourth set 25-19 and the match 3-1.
The win was crucial as they were able to bounce back from a tough loss.
“It’s good because you don’t know what they’re going to do,” Casali said. “We’re very young, and you don’t know if they’re going to bounce back or if it’s just going to get worse because they’re down.”
In the end, Thomas led the Rams, as she often does, with 12 kills and 15 points.
“She was Rookie of the Year last year, and she’s just getting better and better,” Casali said.
Cafarelli led the team in digs with 14 and was followed by Emily Flaherty with 12.
Following the match, the young Rams will look to keep it up and continue winning.