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Flynn sets new program kills record, Bulldogs complete sweep of Robert Morris with 3-2 win

Photo by DSPics.com
Photo by DSPics.com

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Sophomore outside hitter Julia Flynn (Pembroke, Mass.) set a new all-time program record Sunday, hammering home 34 kills to lead the Bryant University volleyball team in a 3-2 thriller over rival Robert Morris at the Chace Athletic Center.

Flynn's 34 kills rewrote a record that has stood since 1994, with Bryant Hall of Famers Maria Bras and Michelle Muniz each recording 32 kills during matches in 1994 and 2005, respectively. The previous Division I program record was 29 (Maria Scocca, 2009). The mark also represents the fifth-most kills in a five-set match in the nation this year.

Flynn got the Bulldogs (15-13, 6-3 Northeast Conference) started off right in the first set Sunday afternoon, posting 10 kills and .500 hitting percentage in a 27-25 victory to take the 1-0 match lead. Robert Morris (11-14, 5-4) tied the contest in the second, serving up three aces and making just two errors in a 25-21 set-two win. Flynn and senior Sara DePouw (Oconto, Wis.) each registered five kills despite the loss.

The third saw Flynn dominate once again, throwing down eight kills to help the Black and Gold to another extra-points win, 27-25, and the sophomore would equal the effort in the fourth despite a 25-23 RMU victory. The fourth alone saw 17 ties and eight lead changes, as both teams hit over the .300 mark in a back-and-forth affair.

In the fifth, Robert Morris would take a 7-6 lead after three-straight Bulldog attack errors, but kills from DePouw and rookie Ava Patterson (Danville, Calif.) put Bryant back on top, 11-8. The hosts would continue to grow their lead, rounding out the win with a kill from Vika Katzen (Kfar Saba, Israel) for a victory that completed the season sweep of the Colonials.

Patterson (10) and DePouw (15) joined Flynn with double-digits in the kills column, and Flynn added 14 digs for her eighth double-double of the season. Katzen (48 assists, 16 digs) and Kirstyn Sperry (Phoenix, Ariz.) (22 assists, 12 digs) echoed Flynn's double-double effort, while junior libero Erica Vendituoli (Nashua, N.H.) posted a career-high of her own with 24 digs on the afternoon.

The Bulldogs posted seven team blocks, with five of those involving Sperry and four more involving Patterson (1 solo). Four different Bulldogs contributed to five team aces, with Katzen serving up two.

Taylor Lord led the Colonials with 21 kills, adding 14 digs for her own double-double (5 blocks). Arden Fisher registered 13 kills and a match-leading 25 digs (2 blocks, 2 aces) for the visitors, while Leah Dunivan (6 kills) and Brianna Schmid (5) each paced the contest with six blocks. As a unit, Robert Morris posted 14 team stuffs.

Both sides hit better than .200 on the contest, with Bryant topping RMU at .224. The Bulldogs dominated in kills (83-57), digs (89-72) and assists (78-53) but registered 16 more attack errors than their opponents.

With Sunday's win, the Bulldogs earn back-to-back victories for the first time since last facing this weekend's opponents back on Sept 24-25. Bryant will look to record its first winning streak since mid-September when it hosts Central Connecticut Friday at 7 p.m.