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BULLDOGS FALL IN SEASON FINALE HEARTBREAKER, 3-2 TO NORTH DAKOTA IN NATIONAL TRANSITIONS CHALLENGE SATURDAY AFTERNOON

BULLDOGS FALL IN SEASON FINALE HEARTBREAKER, 3-2 TO NORTH DAKOTA IN NATIONAL TRANSITIONS CHALLENGE SATURDAY AFTERNOON

Friday, November 15, 2008

BULLDOGS FALL IN SEASON FINALE HEARTBREAKER, 3-2 TO NORTH DAKOTA IN NATIONAL TRANSITIONS CHALLENGE SATURDAY AFTERNOON

Boxscore

Senior Delia Glover was named to the all-tournament team for
her play in the weekend-long National Transitions Challenge.

SMITHFIELD, R.I.  - Despite inspired playing on the part of the Bryant University volleyball team in its season finale, the Bulldogs, who saw two players earn double-doubles and another earn a rare triple-double, weren't able to hold on for a win over North Dakota Saturday afternoon, falling, 3-2,  in the 2008 National Transitions Challenge at the Chace Athletic Center.

The Bulldogs end their inaugural Division I season 16-19 after the weekend losses, but left their hearts on the court in their final matchup against North Dakota - also their final contest with the likes of seniors Maureen Atkins (Fenton, Mo.), Delia Glover (Marston Mills, Mass.) and Monika Sattler (Gruenwald, Germany).

But more than just the seniors put on a show Saturday afternoon. It was junior Julie Geonnotti (St. Louis Park, Minn.) whose inspired play led the Bulldogs through five sets, registering a triple-double - Bryant's first of the season. The outside hitter who doubles as a setter collected 15 kills with 21 assists to compliment 17 digs on the day.

Freshman Maria Scocca (Melrose, Mass.) also helped lead the home side with 16 kills, while fellow rookies Hilary Andrews (Tipp City, Ohio) and Jazmin Stoner (Durango, Colo.) recorded double-doubles of their own, with Andrews collecting 13 kills with 15 digs and Stoner grabbing 10 kills with 21 digs.

Glover, a senior co-captain, paced the Bulldogs with 24 digs en route to an all-tournament team selection while Atkins, her co-captain counterpart, led the way with 27 assists.

The Bulldogs proved that they had come to play from the very first set, when the University of North Dakota (24-8), a team Bryant lost to in three sets just a month ago, seemed to keep just one point ahead of the Bulldogs through the 14-14 mark of the match.

Geonnotti helped make it 15-15, feeding Scocca a key set for a huge kill to knot the game. The teams would continue to trade points until the Fighting Sioux took a 22-20 advantage off a pair of Bryant attack errors.

But the Bulldogs would dig deep to knot the score again at 23-23 before a huge block from UND's Britta Hanson and Erin Joki gave the Sioux back the one-point edge.

But three straight points from Scocca - a kill setup by Glover followed by a block from Scocca and Andrews followed by another kill, this time from Atkins - gave the home side the 1-0 match advantage with a 26-24 set one win.

In set two, the Bulldogs found themselves relinquishing a 6-3 lead before UND turned it into a 12-8 disadvantage for the Bulldogs.

Four serves from the hands of Glover would take care of the deficit, though, as Bryant came back for a 13-12 lead.

The score stayed close through the rest of the game, with neither team leading by more than two. But in the end it would be North Dakota's set, as Hanson knocked down the set-winning kill for a 26-24 tally and a 1-1 match score.

Set three saw the Bulldogs get off to a slow start, falling behind 4-0 before getting their first point of the game. But blocks and service errors brought Bryant to within one, 5-4, before the Sioux took off again, running the tally up to 16-7, from which the Bulldogs would never recover.

The home team pulled within four, again with Glover serving, thanks in part to a pair of aces, but Bryant would soon find themselves down, 2-1 in the match.

Bryant took an early 6-1 lead in set four, keeping UND at bay after a series of long rallies. But two service aces from the Sioux's Devin Trefz knotted the game at 7-7.

The score stayed at a draw or within one point until, again, Glover got the serve, taking her Bulldogs from down 11-10 to leading 13-12.

A kill from Andrews, set up by Geonnotti, made it 14-13 in favor of Bryant before Atkins service the Bulldogs to a 16-13 edge.

Bryant went up 18-15 from an Andrews ace and held the lead for the remainder of the set, winning 25-22 on a run capped off by the 29th and final ace of Atkins's season.

And with one set left in their 2008 season - and in the careers of three Bulldogs - Bryant dug even deeper, but it just wouldn't be enough to come back from a huge North Dakota lead built by Taylor Bohannon serves. The Bulldogs went down a quick 9-0 in the shortened set, thanks in part to a trio of Bohannon aces. Bryant would get just five points back before the Sioux took the 3-2 win.

Houston Baptist University won the 2008 National Transitions Challenge, winning all four tournament games, including a hard-fought 3-2 win over the University of South Dakota in the Championship Saturday at noon.

The Bulldogs finish their 2008 inaugural Division I campaign 16-19.

2008 NATIONAL TRANSITIONS CHALLENGE ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Kathleen Hruska - USD
Delia Glover - Bryant
Amanda Polzin - UND
Jessica Barrera - HBU
Sydney Winslow - SUIE
Kaytlyn Dill - Seattle