SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Senior captain Sara DePouw (Oconto, Wis.) averaged four kills per set to lead the Bryant University volleyball team to a Saturday split, as the Bulldogs fell to host Columbia, 3-1, and topped Manhattan, 3-0, in Columbia Classic action.
DePouw's 28 kills were a team high and came with a .296 attack percentage, while sophomore setter Kirstyn Sperry (Phoenix, Ariz.) added 19 more with six blocks to headline five Bulldogs (4-8) to finish the two-match day with double-figure offense. Junior Ally Lunsford (Minneola, Fla.) posted the team's top hitting percentage at .484 and recorded 17 kills, while senior setter Vika Katzen (Kfar Saba, Israel) and sophomore outside Julia Flynn (Pembroke, Mass.) contributed 11 apiece with hitting percentages at .375 or better.
Bryant's defense was also strong on the day, led by all-tournament team selection Erica Vendituoli (Nashua, N.H.), who finished the afternoon with 35 digs and the weekend tournament with 56. Katzen would record double-doubles in both matches Saturday, as the Bulldogs hit a combined .265, served up nine aces and posted 11 blocks as a team on the day.
Bryant vs. Columbia
Sperry and DePouw paced the Bryant offense with 14 and 13 kills, respectively, while the former tallied her third-straight double-double, but Columbia (2-4) was too much for the Black and Gold in the final sets, posting a 3-1 victory in the first of two Saturday contests for the Bulldogs.
Sperry added 16 assists, four blocks and a .429 attack percentage to a strong outing, while Katzen also registered a double-double with 32 assists and 12 digs. Katzen, along with Lunsford and fellow junior Kiley Robbins (Garland, Texas), added seven kills to the offensive effort. Vendituoli led the match defensively with 20 digs, with sophomore Margot Ruffieux (Cary, N.C.) adding in 11 more to complement a pair of aces.
Chichi Ikwuazom paced the Lions with 13 kills, while Kesi Neblett chipped in 10 more for the tournament hosts. Grace Campbell's 43 assists were a match best, while Cassie Wes posted 19 digs on a day that saw Columbia rotate deep into their lineup.
Columbia needed extra points to turn out a 26-24 win in set one, breaking a 24-24 tie with a Neblett kill followed by a Bryant attack error for the victory. The second frame saw the Bulldogs lead nearly the entire way, building an 11-4 advantage after six-straight points served up by Ruffieux. The Lions were unable to close the gap to less than three from there, as Bryant rode five DePouw kills to the 25-19 win to knot the match at 1-1.
But from there, Columbia would take over, hitting .410 with just two attack errors in the third for a 25-20 decision. The Black and Gold offense would falter in the fourth, finishing with seven errors and just seven kills in a 25-19 Columbia win in the final set of the 3-1 loss.
The home side would finish the afternoon affair with nine aces and seven team blocks. Bryant would total four and six and hit .225 as a unit.
Bryant vs. Manhattan
DePouw, Flynn and Lunsford all registered double-digit kills and the Bulldogs hit at a .319 clip as a team to get a 3-0 win at the Columbia Classic, topping Manhattan College (0-10) in straight sets in the nightcap Saturday.
DePouw's 15 were a match best while Flynn (11) and Lunsford (10) combined for just three errors to help pace the offense. Katzen completed her second double-double of the day with 23 assists and 14 digs, while Vendituoli led the Black and Gold on defense with 15 digs.
Milena Janjusevic led the Jaspers with 11 kills and nine digs, while Olyvia Chaltas added 10 more kills as the only other double-digit scorer. Zoe Lindsey dished out 31 of the team's 37 assists, while Allie Yamashiro posted a match-high 17 digs on the night.
Manhattan took an early lead in the first and extended its advantage to 15-11 before the Bulldogs pulled within one, 15-14. Six-straight points served up by Vendituoli – including her only ace of the contest – turned a 17-16 deficit into a 22-17 edge that Bryant would not relinquish, polishing the set off with kills from Katzen, DePouw and Sperry in the 25-19 final.
In the second, the Bulldogs led nearly start to finish, taking over the lead for good with an Alyssa Rehrer service error at 5-4 to wrap up a 2-0 match lead with a 25-15 set victory.
The third saw Bryant take a 12-8 edge on a Lunsford kill set up by Sperry (24 assists, 2 aces, 5 kills), but Janjusevic would serve up four points and tie the frame at 13-13 soon after. The set would stay tight from there, forcing extras to get to the final margin. After a Bryant timeout at 25-25, the Bulldogs would score three of the next four points – including kills from Flynn and DePouw – to take the final 3-0 margin with a 28-26 win.
The Bulldogs return to action Tuesday night, taking on Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., at 7 p.m.