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Sperry, Bulldogs sweep LIU Brooklyn, 3-0, Saturday afternoon at home

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SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The Bryant University volleyball team hit .343 behind a match-high 12 kills from sophomore Kirstyn Sperry (Phoenix, Ariz.), sweeping LIU Brooklyn in straight sets Saturday evening at the Chace Athletic Center.

Sperry recorded the only double-double of the day for either side, adding 11 assists to her 12 kills and .529 attack percentage, making just three errors in 17 attempts. Sophomores Grace Richmeyer (DeSoto, Mo.) (.389 hitting percentage) and Julia Flynn (Pembroke, Mass.) (.421) each added nine kills to help lead the Bulldog (17-13, 8-3 Northeast Conference) offense, while senior Sara DePouw (Oconto, Wis.) chipped in eight more kills with eight digs. Rookie Sydney Gorski (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) was also stellar, contributing six kills with two aces.

Senior setter Vika Katzen (Kfar Saba, Israel) dished out a match-leading 28 assists with nine digs, while junior Erica Vendituoli (Nashua, N.H.) paced the contest with 15 digs.

Viktoria Fink was the top offensive threat for the Blackbirds (10-14, 7-4) with 10 kills, while Jiayi Zhang added eight more, as the duo contributed more than half of the visitors' kill total (27). Amanda Hubbard registered 24 dimes, while libero Emily Magee picked up 10 digs. LIU Brooklyn hit .191 as a team.

The Bulldogs dominated the first set, taking an 18-8 lead before eventually winning, 25-16. Sperry posted seven kills with just a single error in the frame, teaming up with Richmeyer for the block that won the stanza. Katzen served up back-to-back aces in the set, also dishing out 11 helpers.

The second-set margin stayed close throughout the first half, until a five-point run built the Bulldog lead to 18-11. The Blackbirds would not cut into that deficit for the remainder of the set, as Gorski solidified the 25-17 win with her third kill of the frame for a 2-0 Bryant advantage.

Richmeyer put down four-straight kills to open the third stanza, but back-to-back Blackbird solo blocks tied the score at 4-4. Three-consecutive kills from Flynn, DePouw and Gorski put Bryant on top, 12-8, but Fink would give the Blackbirds back the lead, 17-16, with four-straight kills of her own. The sides would continue to battle, but a ball-handling error would give the hosts a two-point edge, 23-21, and force LIU Brooklyn into its final timeout.

With a 24-22 edge, DePouw would put an exclamation point on the win, hammering home her eighth kill of the match for a straight-set sweep of the Blackbirds, as the Bulldogs evened the season series at a game apiece.

Bryant nearly doubled the Blackbirds' kill total, 49-27, and point total, 58.5-33. The Bulldogs saw 3.5 blocks to LIU Brooklyn's three stuffs, while the hosts got six aces from its ranks (3 from Katzen).

The Bulldogs return to action Sunday afternoon, hosting St. Francis Brooklyn on Senior Day. The 3 p.m. matchup is also the team's regular-season home finale.