SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Despite an early lead, the Bryant University volleyball team didn't have an answer for the serving and blocking of LIU Brooklyn, falling to the Blackbirds, 3-1, Saturday on the road.
The Blackbirds (7-11, 4-2 Northeast Conference) served up 11 aces – all of them coming from just two players – and posted 17 team blocks despite registering a hitting percentage of just .104. The Bulldogs (12-12, 3-3) hit .153 as a unit and kept every set close despite the final margin.
Bryant came out in the first and took the 1-0 match edge with a 27-25 victory in the opening frame. The Bulldogs would hold a late lead in the second set, but LIU Brooklyn scored the final seven points to tie the match at 1-1 with a 25-22 win. The third (25-23) and fourth (25-22) would be equally close but would not got the Bulldogs' way.
Sophomore Julia Flynn (Pembroke, Mass.) and freshman Ava Patterson (Danville, Calif.) led the Bryant offense with 15 and 11 kills, respectively, while the former recorded one of three double-doubles for the Black and Gold (16 digs). Setters Kirstyn Sperry (Phoenix, Ariz.) (26 assists, 17 digs) and Vika Katzen (Kfar Saba, Israel) (31, 19) also picked up double-doubles on the day, while Sperry fell just a single kill shy of her third triple-double.
Five different Bulldogs registered double-digit digs, led by junior libero Erica Vendituoli (Nashua, N.H.). Patterson also paced the team on the block with five, including three solo stuffs, while Sperry added three as part of the team's seven team blocks.
LIU Brooklyn's Alex Lilliquist posted a match-best 19 kills and added 12 digs for one of three Blackbird double-doubles, while Viktoria Fink chipped in 11 kills and 14 digs. Setter Amanda Hubbard directed the offense with 33 assists (10 digs), while Natalia Rivera ran the defense with a match-leading 25 digs.
Top blocker Katharina Krepper was a part of 10 LIU Brooklyn stuffs (1 solo), while Jiayi Zhang added seven of her own and served up an impressive six aces. The home team saw five more aces come from the hands of Fink in a stellar all-around performance.
The Bulldogs return to the court Sunday, traveling just down the road to St. Francis Brooklyn for a 1 p.m. matchup that can be seen live at NECFrontRow.com.