HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW YOUR TEAMMATE: THE ALBRIGHT SISTERS

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First things first. I was asked to knock out the cheeseball game show intro to this video on the spot, with no notice, or I would’ve practiced my plastic smile and demanded a Bob Barker stick microphone. Also, apologies to the A-10 for the late model pullover. I hate to derail your new branding efforts, but I wear the free stuff people give me. I digress.

We’re trying to bring you closer to VCU student-athletes than ever before this year. So plan on seeing more stuff like this and the even more embarrassing “Can CK Play?” series, the “Day in the Life” photo diary, the “Mic’d Up” segment and other features that help pull back the curtain.

Today, we’re meeting field hockey freshmen and twin sisters Jamee and Alexis Albright. We’re going to learn a little more about them, but more importantly, they’re going to learn a little more about each other.

ARAGAO ‘ALL SET’ AGAIN FOR VCU

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Senior setter Cecilia Aragao has returned from a torn ACL to lead VCU this season.

Senior setter Cecilia Aragao has returned from a torn ACL to lead VCU this season.

RICHMOND, Va. – There is little evidence left of the torn ACL that derailed VCU Volleyball setter Cecilia Aragao’s junior season, other than the big, bulky, black knee brace, that is.

While the brace is hard to miss, Aragao doesn’t look much different from the player that was midway through one of the best seasons by a VCU setter before it came undone in an instant. That’s good news for VCU, which needs Aragao’s smooth playmaking skills more than ever this season.

Aragao, a senior and four-year starter from Recife, Brazil has reestablished herself as one of the best setters in the Atlantic 10 and perhaps the East Coast with her play during the first half of this season.

It’s not just Aragao’s ability to direct Rogers’ quick-set offense that places her among the best at her position. It’s that Aragao can impact nearly every facet of the match. While she’s compiled more than 3,500 assists during her career, Aragao is the first VCU setter to record more than 300 blocks. She’s also booked more than 300 kills and 800 digs.

Behind Aragao, one of just two seniors on this year’s squad, the Rams (10-9, 3-2 A-10) have won eight of 10 matches and find themselves in a position to contend for an A-10 title. But it wasn’t long ago that she wondered if she’d be able to command an offense again.

OVER IN AN INSTANT
On Oct. 2, 2013, Aragao suffered her season-ending ACL tear in a match against Hampton. While she was giving chase to a loose ball, Aragao rolled her ankle and then her knee. In 12 years of competitive volleyball, she’d says she’d never suffered a major injury. She knew immediately this time was different.

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BEHIND THE CURTAIN: SHAKA SMART AT A-10 MEDIA DAY

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Videographer Mike Voyack followed Shaka Smart around at Atlantic 10 Media Day in Brooklyn this week. He offers this behind the scenes report.

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Also, Shaka Smart’s knowledge of the 1986 World Series Champion New York Mets is pretty impressive.

BROOKLYN & BACK: A-10 MEDIA DAY

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Atlantic 10 Conference Men’s Basketball Media Day has come and gone. Here’s a sampling of the day that was at Barclays Center.

SHAKA SMART REALLY LOVES PANCAKES

THE RAMS ARE THE UNANIMOUS PRESEASON FAVORITES

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TROY DANIELS, HOTTER THAN THE SUN(S)

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This year, Troy Daniels is in the Houston Rockets’ training camp not as an unknown free agent clinging to hope – as he was last year at this time – but as a guy who has already won his roster spot and is now looking to carve out a more prominent role. Daniels appears on the right track in the early going. Although coaches love to run out all kinds of lineup combinations in NBA preseason games, the former VCU sharpshooter has managed to impress. Monday night, he scored 12 points for the Rockets in a win over the Phoenix Suns – including a floater, which somebody should tell him is only worth two points. We all know Troy Daniels has no time for baskets worth less than three points. Have no fear, he made three 3-pointers as well and is 5-of-11 from long range in three preseason games. Thankfully, the Internet is here to provide us with highlights of Daniels’ effort tonight. Thanks Interwebs!

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MICROPHONE CHECK: BETH O’BOYLE

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VCU Women’s Basketball started practice last week, and for some reason, new Head Coach Beth O’Boyle actually let us mic her during one session. Have a look and a listen at the sights and sounds from women’s hoops practice.

“…THIS FULLY OPERATIONAL SPACE STATION (SCOREBOARD)”

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The new Siegel Center scoreboard is up, and it’s glorious. Fans can have their first chance to see it up close Friday or Sunday at the VCU Volleyball team’s matches (the Rams are also home next weekend). You can also drop by the Black and Gold Game – VCU’s intrasquad men’s basketball scrimmage – on Oct. 26.

THAT’S WHY I’M LIKE, SCOREBOARD, MAN

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Yesterday, we dropped by the Siegel Center to check on the installation of the new centerhung scoreboard and the sound system. Things are progressing nicely. Check it out.

KHARLTON RINGS THE BELL, RIGHTS VCU

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There were a couple big wins by VCU teams over the weekend, including a nice victory by volleyball at Saint Louis, but none was bigger than the men’s soccer team’s 3-0 thumping of No. 20 George Mason. Leading the way was striker Kharlton Belmar, whose two first-half goals put VCU comfortably in the driver’s seat.

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It’s a significant win for the Rams over the defending Atlantic 10 Conference champions. It’s the school’s second win over a ranked opponent this season. VCU (4-6-1) has played an incredibly challenging schedule. The Rams have met six ranked teams this year, including top-ranked Notre Dame – a 1-0 double-OT loss – and No. 5 North Carolina. VCU does own a 2-1 win over then-No. 6 Georgetown, but it was clear the Rams, 0-4-1 in their previous five matches, needed a shot in the arm. The win over the Patriots should provide just that.

The Rams will travel to Maryland on Wednesday, but are otherwise playing their A-10 schedule the rest of the way. Saturday’s win was a good way to kick off league play.

THE MISSING (BASKETBALL) LINKS

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Shaka Smart is 137-46 in five seasons with VCU.

Shaka Smart is 137-46 in five seasons with VCU.

Lots on tap today for VCU fans. You’ve got volleyball in St. Louis for a pivotal match, plus women’s soccer and field hockey on the road for important A-10 matches. But I know a lot of you out there are juiced about the start of basketball practice today. I offered some notes from VCU Men’s Basketball Coach Shaka Smart’s Wednesday press conference yesterday, but there’s certainly more to it than that. Scott Day was nice enough to compile a list of links that will interest you hoops junkies:

Get ready, folks. The Black and Gold Game is just 23 days away. Hopefully, this clip will remind you why you enjoy this time of year so much.

 

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