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Bulldogs rebound at home, down Knights in straight sets Sunday

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SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The Bryant University volleyball team got multiple kills from nine different people and put together a balanced effort in Sunday's straight-sets home win over Fairleigh Dickinson.

The Bulldogs (12-11, 3-2) did not allow the Knights (2-20, 1-5) to get more than 19 points in any of the three sets, and led by as many as nine in each of the first two sets.

Bryant extended the lead in the first half to 16-7, before the Knights went on a 7-1 run capped off by kills from Annabel Reyes and Rebecca Sabol. But with senior Sara DePouw (Oconto, Wis.) serving, the Bulldogs went on an 8-3 run from there to win the set, 25-17. DePouw, freshman Ava Patterson (Danville, Calif.) and sophomore Julia Flynn (Pembroke, Mass.) all had four kills in the set to lead the way.

The second set was the most competitive of the three early on, as all seven ties and five lead changes of the match came in the frame. After a DePouw kill knotted things up at 7-7, junior Ally Lunsford (Minneola, Fla.) took to the service strip. The Bulldogs rattled off seven-straight points to take a commanding 17-7 lead. Each side registered five points down the stretch, as the Bulldogs would lead by as many as 12 before winning the second, 25-13. DePouw again charged her side with four more kills in the set, while the Knights had nine attack errors compared to just eight kills.

Bryant jumped out to leads of 4-0 and 10-5 in the third set thanks to three kills from freshman Sydney Gorski (Chagrin Falls, Ohio.). But after a Reyes kill made it 10-6, the Knights completed a 5-1 run with Taylor Wyckoff serving to get within one, 11-10. The Bulldogs extended their lead to five once again, making it 19-14 following one of two kills by Cassandra Sulmeisters (Centennial, Colo.).

The Knights made one final push to cut the margin to one thanks to a pair of attack errors, an Erika Sullivan ace and a Reyes kill. But Bryant made sure it would dispose of FDU and complete the quick match, as it scored six of the final seven points. A lot of different faces saw action in the third set, as Gorski and sophomore Grace Richmeyer (DeSoto, Mo.) led everyone with four kills.

DePouw paced the Bulldogs with 10 kills, mostly coming from the left side. Patterson followed with seven kills and Flynn finished with five. Senior setter Vika Katzen (Kfar Saba, Israel) had a match-high 17 assists to go along with seven digs, six of which came in the first set. Sophomore Julia Malet (San Rafael, Calif.) appeared in just the second and third sets, but tallied nine assists along with classmate Kirstyn Sperry (Phoenix, Ariz.). Libero Erica Vendituoli (Nashua, N.H.) had a contest leading 12 digs on the defensive end.

Wyckoff led the Knights with six kills, followed by Reyes with five and Caroline Laton and Sabol with four each. Kirstin Trabert doled out 14 assists, and lobero Savanna Wray dug 11 balls.    

The Bulldogs return to the road for three matches, spending next weekend in Brooklyn with matches against LIU on Saturday and St. Francis on Sunday.