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Bulldogs fall to No. 2 Minnesota in NCAA First Round

Eric Miller Photography
Eric Miller Photography

MINNEAPOLIS – Senior Julia Flynn (Pembroke, Mass.) posted nine kills and 13 digs, while freshman Caroline Kennedy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) set the DI program record for kills in a season as the Bryant University volleyball team fell in three sets to the No. 2 national seed University of Minnesota on Friday night in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Competing in their first NCAA Tournament at the Division I level, the Bulldogs took a 17-16 lead on back-to-back Flynn kills in the third set but ultimately fell in three to the Gophers.

Seniors Kristin Kingi (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) and Grace Richmeyer (DeSoto, Mo.) both added seven kills, while classmates Kirstyn Sperry (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Julia Malet (San Rafael, Calif.) added 16 and 10 assists, respectively.

MATCH INFORMATION
Bryant 0, No. 2 Minnesota 3 (10-25, 16-25, 21-25)
Records: Bryant (22-13), No. Minnesota (26-3)
Location: Maturi Pavilion (Minneapolis, Minn.)

Coach Garlacy's Comments

"We started a little nervous and anxious, which can be expected in this atmosphere and with this crowd. We battled every point, got better every set and I couldn't be more proud of this team. This group of seniors has been groundbreakers. They've left a legacy behind that the younger kids will be able to follow."

How it Happened

  • Set 1 – A kill from Kennedy tied the first set at 2-2 but the Gophers rattled off nine-straight points to take a commanding lead. Kennedy stopped the run with her second kill of the set and Bryant got within 15-8 but Minnesota was able to close out the victory, 25-10.
  • Set 2 – Minnesota jumped out to a 15-7 lead before the Black and Gold rattled off four-straight points. Flynn opened the run with three-straight kills and Kingi capped the run with a kill from the back row. The Gophers, however, responded with four-straight points and then withstood a late-set rally from the Bulldogs.
  • Set 3 – Bryant stayed right with the Gophers in the third set, pulling even thanks to the play of junior Brianna Bruny (Biscayne Park, Fla.). Bruny's only kill of the match made it 12-10, an attack error brought the Bulldogs within one and Bruny tied the set with a solo block right in the middle of the floor. Bryant would tie the set at 13, 14 and 16 before Flynn gave Bryant a 17-16 lead with a kill. Kingi would make it 20-20 but the Gophers scored five of the final six points to close out the match.  

Stats/Notes

  • Minnesota's front line held Bryant to a .008 attack percentage and posted 16 blocks.
  • The Gophers hit .280 and committed just seven attack errors.
  • Bryant finished the match at .913 on serve receive and posted two aces and just one service error.
  • Flynn posted nine kills, 13 digs and a solo block.
  • Kingi finished with seven kills and 10 digs, while committing just one reception error in 31 chances.
  • Sperry finished with two kills, 16 assists and nine digs.
  • Richmeyer had seven kills and hit .238 in the match.
  • Malet had 10 assists and five digs.
  • Sophomore Erika Ward (Rochester, Mich.) finished with five assists, 12 digs and an ace.
  • Kennedy set the DI single-season record with 409 kills on the season. She broke the previous record held by Maria Scocca since 2009.
  • The Bulldogs finished the season with a DI program-record 22 wins.
  • Friday was Bryant's 12 NCAA appearance in program history.