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Bryant drops 3-1 decision to UNH at home

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SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The Bryant University volleyball team got 11 kills from sophomore Sara DePouw (Oconto, Wis.) and 10 more from rookie Kiley Robbins (Garland, Texas) but fell to the University of New Hampshire, 3-1, Tuesday night at home despite taking a 1-0 match lead.

In a set that featured 16 ties and six lead changes, the Bulldogs (3-7) battled to a 25-19 victory in the opening frame, but never again led throughout the remainder of the match as the Wildcats (3-4) took the next three stanzas, 25-16, 25-12, 25-22, for the 3-1 victory.

Redshirt-freshman setter Vika Nesterov (Kfar Saba, Israel) recorded the only double-double for the Bulldogs (3-7) with 33 assists and a team-best 16 digs. Defensively, Bryant got support across its ranks, getting double-digit dig outings from Nesterov (16), freshman Cassandra Sulmeisters (Centennial, Colo.) (15), junior libero Debora Magalhaes (Belo Horizonte, Brazil) (14), senior outside hitter Elena Lohr (Loveland, Ohio) (13) and sophomore Carissa Gould (Woonsocket, R.I.) (11).

Sulmeisters and Lohr each also contributed seven kills and an ace apiece, while Nesterov served up two perfect starts with four kills. Robbins led the Bulldogs at the net with three blocks, while DePouw added two more.

UNH was paced by 14 kills from season-leader Tori Forrest, while Demi Muses chipped in 12 more on 26 swings (.294). Both picked up double-doubles with 14 and 11 digs, respectively, while Taylor Dunklau posted 51 assists with 14 digs for a double-double of her own. Madison Lightfoot paced the match on defense (24 digs) and on the serve (3 aces), and the Wildcats had a trio of players post two blocks each.

As a team, UNH outhit the Black and Gold, .261 to .161, with 10 extra kills, 56-46. Both teams totaled 75 digs and five team blocks.

After starting the season with six of 10 matches at home, the Bulldogs will now hit the road for the next three weeks, not returning to the friendly confines of the Chace Athletic Center until Sept. 30 (UMass Lowell, 7 p.m.). Bryant will next take the court in New Rochelle, N.Y., at the Iona Tournament and will take on the host Gaels first on Friday at 7 p.m.