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Bulldogs drop pair of games Friday in Worcester

Photo by: Dave Silverman
Photo by: Dave Silverman

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The Bryant University volleyball team dropped a pair of matches on Friday at the Crusader Classic, falling to UMass Lowell in five sets before being swept by Fairfield. Both matches were played at the Holy Cross Field House on the Holy Cross campus in Worcester, Mass.

With the losses, the Bulldogs fall to 2-5 on the year and have now lost four straight matches. The Bulldogs will complete their weekend with a Saturday matinee against in-state rival Brown in Providence.

Senior Vika Katzen (Kfar Saba, Israel) posted a near triple-double with 12 kills, 35 assists and eight digs but it wasn't enough as Bulldogs lost in five sets to UMass Lowell in the first game.

In the first set, the River Hawks used a four-point run to break an 18-18 tie. Madi Bell capped the late run with back-to-back kills for UML.

It was all Bryant in the second set as the Bulldogs took a commanding 25-15 victory. The Black and Gold jumped out to a quick 4-1 lead and then raced ahead on the serve of freshman Ava Patterson (Danville, Calif.). The rookie served up eight-straight points for the Bulldogs, pushing their lead from 14-10 to 22-10. Sophomore Julia Flynn (Pembroke, Mass.) chipped in four kills during the stretch.

Four early errors pushed UML out to an 11-4 lead in the third set and the Bulldogs were never able to recover. Three-straight kills from Flynn brought Bryant close but it suffered a 25-20 loss.

Bryant bounced right back in the fourth set, taking a back-and-forth affair, 25-21. Clinging to an 18-16 lead, the Bulldogs rattled off three-straight points on the serve of Kirstyn Sperry (Phoenix, Ariz.). Katzen posted two kills during the stretch and Sperry posted an ace. Katzen then posted a kill and assisted on the set-clincher to close out the win.

In the fifth set, six errors would come back to haunt the Black and Gold. Kills from Sara DePouw (Oconto, Wis.) and Flynn, and a UML error brought Bryant back to 13-12 down but two kills from Haley Shimon closed the door on the Bulldogs.

Flynn led the Bulldogs with 17 kills, while Katzen finished with a .478 hitting percentage. DePouw had 12 kills and five block assists.

Against Fairfield, Bryant committed 20 attacking errors and five reception errors in a brisk three-set loss. DePouw led the Bulldogs with seven kills, while Sperry and freshman Brianna Bruny (Biscayne Park, Fla.) each added five.

The Stags took the match, 25-15, 25-20 and 25-15, posting a team hitting percentage of .299. Megan Theiller (11), Skyler Day (12) and Megan O'Sullivan (11) all finished with double-digit kills for the Stags.

It was a career-day for the rookie Bruny as she added three block assists to her season high of five kills.

The Bulldogs will wrap up their weekend on Saturday when they visit Brown for a 2:00 p.m. start.