FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The Bryant University volleyball team won its sixth straight Northeast Conference match Friday with a five-set, come-from-behind victory at Sacred Heart.
By virtue of Friday's NEC results, the Bulldogs have clinched a spot in the Northeast Conference Championship for the fourth consecutive season. Bryant is still in the running to host the conference tournament, which will be played November 16 and 17.
Bryant 3, Sacred Heart 2 (25-22, 21-25, 15-25, 25-23, 17-15)
Records: Bryant (19-10, 9-2); Sacred Heart (13-9, 6-5)
Location: Pitt Center (Fairfield, Conn.)
Coach Garlacy's Comments
"This was an awesome defensive battle tonight. We had three players with 20 or more digs. The seniors really stepped up tonight on both sides of the ball with Grace error-free on 21 attempts, Flynn and Kingi both with double-doubles and the setters making great decisions in key moments. Erika Ward had a career-high in digs and solid passing."
How it Happened
- Set 1 – The Pioneers opened the match up 6-2 before a 7-0 Bryant run with two kills each from redshirt-senior Julia Flynn (Pembroke, Mass.) and freshman Caroline Kennedy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) put the Bulldogs ahead 9-6. Sacred Heart tied the set at 18 before four straight points, including a kill and block from senior Grace Richmeyer (DeSoto, Mo.) put the set out of reach.
- Set 2 – Bryant led 19-16 before a 7-1 Sacred Heart run flipped the second set. The Pioneers had five blocks in the set as they evened the match with a 25-21 set.
- Set 3 – A Kennedy kill cut the Bryant deficit to 15-14, but SHU responded with the next seven points to take control of the set. After a Flynn kill broke up the run, Sacred Heart tallied the next three for a 25-15 win in the third.
- Set 4 – A pair of kills from senior Kristin Kingi (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) put the Bulldogs ahead 12-10, but the Pioneers answered with the next four points. With the teams tied at 21, kills from freshman Jenna Knight (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Kingi put Bryant ahead by two and the Bulldogs would force a fifth set with a 25-23 fourth.
- Set 5 – A successful challenge by Coach Garlacy on a Richmeyer kill cut the deficit to 12-11, and on the next point, Richmeyer and Knight teamed up for a block to even the set. The Bulldogs earned their final five points on three Pioneer attack errors and two service errors to outlast SHU at 17-15.
- Sophomore Erika Ward (Rochester, Mich.) totaled a career-high 28 digs to lead three Bulldogs with 20-plus digs.
- Kingi collected 16 kills and 23 digs, while Flynn added 12 kills and 22 digs.
- Richmeyer recorded nine kills on an errorless .429 hitting percentage and seven blocks, including two solo blocks.
- Freshman Haley O'Brien (Milton, Mass.) posted five blocks.
- Senior Kirstyn Sperry (Phoenix, Ariz.) collected 31 assists, moving her past the 2,500 mark for her career.
- Kingi moved to within 78 digs of Debora Magalhaes' Division I career digs record.
- Ward's performance brings her within 73 digs of 1,000 for her collegiate career.
- Bryant hit .056 in the match, while Sacred Heart recorded a .089 mark.
- The Bulldogs' 92 digs were their second-highest total of the season.
- Sacred Heart's 22.5 blocks as a team were the fifth-most in a single match by any Division I team this year.
- Bryant improves to 25-17 all-time against Sacred Heart and 7-15 in the Division I era. The Bulldogs have won three of the last four meetings, all in five sets.
- The Bulldogs' 19 wins this season match the second-most in the Division I era. Bryant won 21 matches a year ago after winning 19 in both 2015 and 2016.
Bryant takes a trip to New Jersey Saturday for a 5 p.m. match at Fairleigh Dickinson.