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Bryant storms back for five-set win at Sacred Heart to stay unbeaten in NEC

Photo by DSPics.com
Photo by DSPics.com

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The Bryant University volleyball team trailed Sacred Heart 24-19 in the third set, one point away from a three-set loss, before winning the set 32-30 and storming back for a thrilling five-set win Saturday night to continue the Bulldogs' best-ever start in the Northeast Conference. 

Game Information
Bryant 3, Sacred Heart 2 (19-25, 17-25, 32-30, 25-18, 17-15)
Records: Bryant (14-8, 5-0 NEC); Sacred Heart (7-11, 1-4 NEC)
Location: Pitt Center (Fairfield, Conn.)

Coach Garlacy's Comments

"That was one of the most exciting comebacks in my 24 years at Bryant. It was a total team effort – every team member contributed to this win with 13 out of 14 getting playing time. This amazing group of strong women continue to strive for their goals every time they take the floor. The coaching staff could not be prouder."

How it Happened

  • Set 1 – The first set was fairly even in the early going, as neither team led by more than two until the Pioneers grabbed an 18-15 advantage. Bryant would pull to within 21-19 before Sacred Heart tallied the final four points of the set.
  • Set 2 – An 8-1 Sacred Heart run pushed the lead to 11-4 and the Pioneers would stay up by at least two the rest of the set as the Pioneers built a 2-0 advantage.
  • Set 3 – Sacred Heart had Bryant on the ropes at 24-19, but the Bulldogs answered. Bryant scored three straight points to make it 24-22, followed by a pair of kills from senior Kiley Robbins (Garland, Texas) to even the set at 24. Junior Julia Flynn (Pembroke, Mass.) had three kills, while junior Grace Richmeyer (DeSoto, Mo.) tallied two blocks and a kill during the comeback. In total, Bryant staved off match point seven times before eventually taking the set 32-30.
  • Set 4 – Sacred Heart cut the Bryant lead to 14-13 before the Bulldogs rattled off four straight points to gain control of the set. The Bulldogs closed the set on a 5-1 run to force a fifth set. Freshman Alisi Motu'apuaka (Virginia Beach, Va.) tallied five of her 11 assists in the frame.
  • Set 5 – Bryant took a timeout trailing 10-8 and responded with a 5-1 run to go up 13-11. Sacred Heart would tie the set and go up 15-14 before the Bulldogs tallied the final three points of the match, capped off by a block from senior Ally Lunsford (Minneola, Fla.) and sophomore Sydney Gorski (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) to win the match.

Stats/Notes                                                         

  • Junior Julia Flynn (Pembroke, Mass.) led the Bulldogs with 16 kills – her 14th double-digit kills performance of the season.
  • Senior Ally Lunsford (Minneola, Fla.) tallied nine kills and seven blocks, while junior Grace Richmeyer (DeSoto, Mo.) had eight and seven. Bryant had 14 blocks as a team.
  • Junior Kirstyn Sperry (Phoenix, Ariz.) recorded 24 assists, five blocks and two aces. Sperry notched nine blocks in two matches this weekend.
  • Bryant is 5-0 in the Northeast Conference for the first time. The Bulldogs began playing an NEC schedule in 2009.

Up Next
Bryant returns home Friday for a 6 p.m. match vs. Robert Morris at the Chace Athletic Center.