LEXINGTON, Ky. – Junior Jessica Ojukwu (Sao Paulo Brazil) blasted nine kills and Virginia Commonwealth University went nose-to-nose with Kansas State before dropping a 3-0 (25-18, 30-28, 26-24) decision to Kansas State Friday at the University of Kentucky Invitational at Memorial Coliseum.

Ojukwu, who missed the 2009 season due to injury, enjoyed one of her best matches of the 2010 campaign. The 5-11 junior hit .250 and collected 13 digs for the Rams (1-7). Sophomore Kristin Boyd (Wilmington, N.C.) added nine kills and senior Mariel Frey (Lititz, Pa.) chipped in with eight kills and six digs for VCU.

"I think that we showed great sense of growth, and that girls can play and offensively dominate matches," said VCU Head Coach James Finley. "We just have to find a way to finish the match. It's just that sustainability that we've got to work on. It was definitely a match that we could win. We're excited about some of the things that are happening."

Kentucky was led by JuliAnne Chisholm, who recorded a match-high 16 kills and hit .297. The match was marked by razor-thin margins in the second and third sets. The Rams rushed out to a 22-15 lead in the second set before the Wildcats (5-3) charged back to tie the frame at 23-23. The teams traded points until it was 28-all, when a kill by Chisholm and an ace from Kaitlynn Pelger delivered KSU the win.

The Black and Gold turned the tables in the third set, staging a furious rally to erase a 17-9 deficit. Behind a pair of kills by senior Kelsie Clegg (Boise, Idaho) and one by Ojukwu sparked a 12-2 run that gave the Rams a 21-19 advantage. However, Kansas State gathered itself and edged VCU 26-24, on a back-to-back kills by Dakota Kaufman and Chisholm.

VCU returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 11 when it meets 16th-ranked and host Kentucky at 10 a.m. and 17th-ranked Florida State at 3 p.m.