DURHAM, N.H. – The Bryant University volleyball team returns to New England to close out a four-match season-opening road trip when the Bulldogs face New Hampshire Tuesday night.
Opponent: New Hampshire
Match Time: Tuesday – 7 p.m.
Location: Lundholm Gymnasium (Durham, N.H.)
Live Stats: UNHWildcats.com
All-Time Series: New Hampshire leads, 10-3 (8-3 D1)
LAST TIME OUT: FORT MYERS CLASSIC
Bryant opened the season with three matches over the weekend at the Homewood Suites Fort Myers Classic, hosted by FGCU. The Bulldogs were defeated in three sets by San Diego State and FGCU and dropped a four-set decision to Akron.
Trailing 15-5 in the third set against FGCU, an NCAA Second Round team a year ago, Bryant rattled off the next nine points to pull within one before eventually dropping the set 25-23.
Junior Alisi Motu'apuaka (Virginia Beach, Va.) was named to the all-tournament team in Fort Myers.
ABOUT THE WILDCATS
New Hampshire went 2-1 in its opening weekend tournament at Army West Point with four-set wins over Rhode Island and Iona and a three-set defeat at the hands of the host Black Knights. The Wildcats are coming off a 2018 campaign in which they went 12-15 overall and 8-4 in the America East. UNH bounced back from an 0-2 deficit to beat Bryant in five sets last September at the Chace.
Kennedi Smith led the Wildcats with 2.55 kills per set in the opening weekend, while Emily Tanski collected a team high 3.82 digs per set. UNH recorded a 2-1 weekend despite hitting .190 in the three matches at West Point.
FIRST TERM McGOVERN-OR
Freshman Emma McGovern (Long Beach, N.Y.) led the Bulldogs in digs in her first weekend in Black & Gold, collecting double-digit totals against San Diego State and FGCU. McGovern added two blocks Saturday vs. Akron.
Sophomore Maya Popernik (Chicago, Ill.) collected a career-high 18 digs in the four-set match against Akron Saturday, including 10 in a first set win for the Bulldogs over the Zips. Popernik eclipsed her previous career-high of seven digs last season in a win at Hartford.
Sophomore Caroline Kennedy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) tallied 409 kills in 2018 – the most in a single season in Bryant's Division I history – and earned All-NEC honors as a freshman.
Junior Erika Ward (Rochester, Mich.) is the first player in Bryant's program history to collect 1,000 digs by the end of her sophomore season. Ward reached the mark with a 32-dig performance in last year's NEC Semifinal. The libero from Michigan enters Tuesday with 1,056 career digs, 319 back of Kristin Kingi's Division I career record set last season.
Bryant is the only Division I volleyball program in New England to win 16 or more matches in each of the last four seasons. The Bulldogs have won at least 19 in all four campaigns with a D1 program-record 22 in 2018.
NORTH BY NORTHEAST
After opening the year with three matches in Florida, Bryant will play its next 24 matches within 200 miles of Smithfield. The Bulldogs will cross the Hudson River just twice during that stretch through the end of October when Bryant travels to Army West Point (Sept. 13-14) and Fairleigh Dickinson (Sept. 27.)
WE'RE THE CAPTAINS NOW
Seniors Brianna Bruny (Biscayne Park, Fla.) and Nikki Kim (River Edge, N.J.), along with redshirt-junior Sydney Gorski (Chagrin Falls, Ohio), were named the Bulldogs' captains prior to the season.
ALL THE YOUNG DAWGS
Ten of Bryant's 16 players in 2019 are either freshmen or sophomores. Kennedy, Jenna Knight (Scottsdale, Ariz.), Haley O'Brien (Milton, Mass.) and Popernik all made pivotal contributions to the Bulldogs' November run as freshmen and are joined by six newcomers: Mia Cergol (East Northport, N.Y.), Riley James (Pocasset, Mass.), McGovern, Abby Rae (Walpole, Mass.), Maggie Ryan (Bethesda, Md.) and Alysa Wright (Wayne, Pa.). All 10 appeared in at least two matches in the opening weekend.
516 AND COUNTING
Head coach Theresa Garlacy picked up her 500th career victory in last September's win over Coppin State, 22 years to the day of her first victory over Saint Michael's in 1996. Garlacy has won 516 matches in her collegiate head coaching career - all at Bryant - entering Tuesday.
UP NEXT: HAMPTON INN-VITATIONAL
Bryant hosts the annual Hampton Inn-vitational at the Chace Athletic Center Friday and Saturday, as the Bulldogs host North Dakota, Villanova and Marist. A full tournament schedule is available HERE.
Tickets for the 2019 season at the Chace Athletic Center, beginning with the Sept. 6 home opener against North Dakota, are available by clicking HERE.