DESPITE VOW, LOW COULDN’T WALK AWAY FROM VOLLEYBALL

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Marisa Low had had her left knee surgically repaired twice in 11 months.

By her own admission, Marisa Low probably shouldn’t be here. Nobody would’ve blamed the senior from San Diego if she called it a career. The first grueling knee rehabilitation almost broke her. That was enough, Low said. She swore she’d quit volleyball before she relived that pain.

She lied.

Six months after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee for the second straight spring, Low jogged onto the court midway through a tense match with Virginia Sept. 7 and recorded two digs in a VCU victory.

“I went down to the end of the bench and asked her if she was ready,” recalls VCU Head Coach James Finley. “She said, ‘I guess we’ll find out.’”

While the dark, three inch brown scar is a conspicuous reminder of the toll she’s paid, the early returns say Low was ready. In 11 matches since returning to the lineup, the 5-foot-5 defensive specialist is averaging 2.41 digs per set, second most on the team. It’s a major feat that Low is playing at all, let alone at a high level.

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FRIDAY WRITES FINAL CHAPTER OF VOLLEYBALL CAREER

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Tennessee transfer Amanda Friday leads VCU in digs per set this season.

Amanda Friday had James Finley worried. Sure, Finley loved her dedication, but there are limits to these types of things.

It’s about 430 miles from Knoxville, Tenn. to Richmond, roughly a seven-hour drive. That didn’t seem to bother Friday, who for weeks, finished summer school classes at the University of Tennessee every Thursday in Knoxville before heading to Richmond, usually by car, alone. Friday played volleyball at Tennessee for three years, and was going to be the new kid on the block at VCU. She wanted to integrate into the team as quickly as possible.

The Rams couldn’t hold organized practices over the summer, but Friday came anyway. She wanted to hang out with her new teammates, play some pickup beach volleyball and work out with Strength and Conditioning Coach Tim Kontos. Finally, Finley had to express his concern to Friday’s mother, Reina.

“I talked to her mom about it,” said Finley, in his seventh season with VCU. “I told her I appreciate this, and it’s great to have somebody this dedicated, but we need to be realistic, and she said, ‘Well, you can tell her not to because I sure can’t.’”

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