Volleyball on the Rise Thanks to Thompson

by John DeMarzo
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Sophomore provides spark off the bench and helps team to two conference wins in Philly

A block in volleyball is just like a block in basketball. It demoralizes the attacking team and fires up the defense. At 6’2, Carina Thompson, the sophomore from Kailua, Hawaii, is the Fordham volleyball team’s tallest player (freshman Chandler Moore is also 6’2), and with her lengthy frame, one would think she would be a defensive force.

However, Thompson has only played sparingly throughout her Fordham career. On a senior-heavy 2010 Rams team, she only saw the court in ten matches, although she did record almost as many blocks (12) as she did kills (15). In 2011, with the Fordham team in full-on rebuilding mode, Thompson had only played in one set entering Wednesday night’s match with the Seton Hall Pirates.

That all changed in the first set against the Pirates. Down 21-17, head coach Peter Volkert, in an effort to shake things up, inserted Thompson, as he had been struggling to find a consistent floor unit throughout the first month of the 2011 season. The Rams would go on to lose that first set, but Thompson started the remaining three sets.

In the second set, which Fordham would go on to lose, Thompson scored the Rams’ first two kills, and would add one more kill in that set.

Thompson put her mark on the third set, when Fordham saw their 13-9 lead trimmed to 14-13, and the Pirates were serving. She recorded two of the Rams’ next three kills as Fordham would extend their lead to 19-14 and hold off Seton Hall to win the third set.

The Rams would fall behind 14-6 in the fourth set, but Thompson did her best to rally the team back, scoring three kills in a stretch that saw Fordham close to within 16-13. However, she would commit three consecutive errors as the Pirates opened up a 19-13 lead and went to win the set and the match.

For the match, Thompson posted nine kills and a block --- meaning in one match, she had recorded 60% of her kill total from 2010.

“The game against Seton Hall was a great way to see how much the team has accomplished and also to see what we need to work on,” Thompson said. “The first two sets were tough and we had to adjust to them, but we never gave up because we know we can be a great team.”

As the Rams continued Atlantic 10 conference play in Philadelphia against La Salle and Temple, Thompson proved she was no one-match wonder, recording ten kills and four blocks in a three-set win over the Explorers, and posting double-digit kills yet again against the Owls, with ten kills and seven blocks as Fordham completed the Philadelphia sweep with a four-set victory.

The team is now 5-11 on the season, having won two in a row for the first time since Oct. 31 and Nov. 5 of 2010. More importantly, the team is 2-1 in conference play, and sits alone in third place, behind Xavier and Dayton, who are pacing the conference at 4-0.

Through four games this season, Thompson has 29 kills and ten blocks and is proving to be a valuable weapon for Volkert to turn to off the bench.

When asked if she felt the never-say-die attitude the Rams showed against Seton Hall helped them during their games in Philadelphia, Thompson replied, “I definitely think that fighting back on Wednesday was a springboard for this weekend. The third game we played against Seton Hall showed us that when we all do our jobs as players and work together that we can dominate.”

She added, “These two wins were huge for us because we are now moving on to play higher-ranked teams. These wins will give us the confidence we need to face these bigger opponents. We all look forward to the competition and playing these stronger teams will only make us better.”

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