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First-place clash, Senior Night on the docket for Bryant

Photo by DSPics.com
Photo by DSPics.com

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The Bryant University volleyball team closes out the regular season with two NEC matches at the Chace Athletic Center this weekend, hosting first-place LIU Brooklyn Friday and St. Francis Brooklyn Saturday on Senior Night.

The Particulars
Opponents:
 LIU Brooklyn (Friday); St. Francis Brooklyn (Saturday)
Match Times: Friday – 6 p.m.; Saturday – 6 p.m.
Links (Friday): NEC Front Row | Live Stats
Links (Saturday): NEC Front Row | Live Stats 

Ticket Promotions
Friday: The match against LIU Brooklyn will count for double Bulldog Cup points for Bryant student-athletes.
Saturday: Fans who attend Saturday's football game against Wagner will be able to use their tickets for admission to the match against St. Francis Brooklyn. Those who bring a canned good to support the SAAC Food Drive will receive a discounted ticket.

Series History vs. LIU Brooklyn
Bryant is 4-17 all-time against LIU Brooklyn but has defended home court in recent years. The Bulldogs have won the last three meetings in Smithfield including a five-set thriller on Homecoming and Reunion Weekend a year ago. The Blackbirds took a four-set victory in Brooklyn earlier this season.

Series History vs. St. Francis Brooklyn
The Bulldogs are 20-3 against the Terriers since their first meeting in 2008. The 23 contests vs. St. Francis Brooklyn are the most against any opponent since joining Division I. Bryant swept St. Francis Sept. 29 in Brooklyn behind a season-high 21 kills from redshirt-senior Julia Flynn (Pembroke, Mass.) on a .474 hitting percentage.

Bulldog Notes and Notables

  • Bryant is 20-10 overall and 10-2 in the NEC, having won its last seven NEC matches. The Bulldogs took a five-set victory at Sacred Heart and a sweep at Fairleigh Dickinson last weekend.
  • Bryant begins the final weekend of NEC play one match behind LIU Brooklyn for first place. Bryant would host the NEC Championship with two victories this weekend and an LIU Brooklyn loss to Central Connecticut. In any other scenario, LIU Brooklyn would host. The Blackbirds hold the tiebreaker over the Bulldogs based on record against fourth-place Sacred Heart (LIU 2-0, Bryant 1-1).
  • The Bulldogs' seven-match NEC winning streak has included three five-set road wins (Saint Francis U, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart.)
  • Bryant will honor its five seniors – Kristin Kingi (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), Kirstyn Sperry (Phoenix, Ariz.), Julia Flynn (Pembroke, Mass.), Grace Richmeyer (DeSoto, Mo.) and Julia Malet (San Rafael, Calif.) – prior to Saturday's match.
  • Kingi enters the weekend 73 digs away from breaking Bryant's Division I career digs record of 1,359 set by Debora Magalhaes in 2015.
  • Sophomore Erika Ward (Rochester, Mich.) is 55 digs away from 1,000 for her collegiate career heading into Friday's match.
  • The Bryant freshman class has combined for 29 performances of 10 or more kills this season, including 21 from Caroline Kennedy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.).
  • Head coach Theresa Garlacy won her 500th career match in the Sept. 8 sweep of Coppin State. Garlacy is now at 514 career wins entering the weekend. 

A Bit About LIU Brooklyn
The Blackbirds are 14-7 overall and 11-1 in the NEC. The lone conference loss came at home to Robert Morris Oct. 27. LIU had won 10 straight matches prior to the loss to the Colonials. 

Viktoria Fink ranks second in the NEC at 3.30 kills per set, while Filippa Hansson's .303 hitting percentage is good for third in the conference. Natalia Rivera's 5.46 digs per set lead the NEC.

A Bit About St. Francis Brooklyn
The Terriers are 9-17 on the year and 5-7 in conference play entering the weekend, having secured their most NEC victories since 2010. St. Francis, which has won four of its last five, can finish as high as a tie for fourth in the conference (Sacred Heart has already clinched the tiebreaker.) 

Wies Hurkmans' .336 hitting percentage places her second in the NEC, while Sidney Colvey leads the team with 2.49 kills per set. Four Terriers are averaging between 2.1 and 2.5 kills per set.

Up Next: NEC Semfinal
Bryant will face either Central Connecticut or Sacred Heart next Friday in an NEC semifinal. The opponent and location – either Smithfield or Brooklyn – will be determined by this weekend's matches.

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