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Bay State duo powers Bryant attack in sweep at Merrimack

Photo by DSPics.com
Photo by DSPics.com

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Freshman Riley James (Pocasset, Mass.) and sophomore Haley O'Brien (Milton, Mass.) combined for 19 kills and the Bryant University volleyball team recorded its highest single-match hitting percentage in over three years in a sweep of Merrimack Tuesday night.

James tallied a match-high 10 kills in the win and O'Brien added nine to go along with four blocks as both played in their home state for the first time in their collegiate careers. The Bulldogs hit .372 in the victory, their best mark since a 2016 sweep of Hampton.

Match Information
Bryant 3, Merrimack 0 (25-10, 25-15, 25-13)
Records: Bryant (8-11, 3-0), Merrimack (1-9, 0-3)
Location: Hammel Court (North Andover, Mass.) 

Coach Garlacy's Comments
"We stayed disciplined tonight and passed very well. It allowed our setters to get the middles the ball and they terminated effectively. Our defense was solid and we kept them out of system with tough serving." 

How it Happened

  • Set 1 – O'Brien recorded five kills and no errors on six attacks as Bryant hit .464 in a convincing opening set.
  • Set 2 – The set was tied 12-12 before Bryant erupted for a 10-1 run with three kills and an ace from James to take a 22-13 advantage. The Bulldogs would close out the set with a block from O'Brien and fellow sophomore Caroline Kennedy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.).
  • Set 3 – Bryant hit .550 (13-2-20) in the third and final set for a 25-13 decision to close out the sweep. Seven different Bulldogs recorded a kill in the set.

Stats/Notes

  • James hit .474 (10-1-19) with the sixth double-digit kill total in her first 19 collegiate matches.
  • O'Brien's four-block performance was her seventh of three or more this season.
  • Junior Erika Ward (Rochester, Mich.) collected 14 digs to pass Kirstyn Sperry for third in Bryant's Division I history in career digs with 1,218.
  • Freshman Mia Cergol (East Northport, N.Y.) led the Black & Gold with 17 assists, while junior Alisi Motu'apuaka (Virginia Beach, Va.) added 13.
  • Kennedy added five kills on a .571 hitting percentage and added two blocks.
  • Redshirt-junior Sydney Gorski (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) and freshman Emma McGovern (Long Beach, N.Y.) chipped in with five kills apiece.
  • Tuesday's match in North Andover was also the first in the home state of freshman Abby Rae (Walpole, Mass.), who contributed three digs, an ace and a kill.
  • The Bulldogs' .372 hitting percentage was the best since a .405 clip in a match against Hampton Sept. 17, 2016 in George Mason's early-season tournament.
  • Bryant improves to 36-1 all-time against Merrimack and 1-0 in the programs' Division I series.
  • The Bulldogs are 3-0 to open NEC play for the second time in three seasons. Bryant opened the 2017 conference schedule at 6-0.

Up Next
Bryant begins a five-match stretch at the Chace Athletic Center when the Bulldogs host Robert Morris Friday at 6 p.m. Tickets for Friday's contest and all 2019 home matches are available HERE

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