SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Freshman Riley James (Pocasset, Mass.) collected 17 kills to lead three players with double-digit kills as the Bryant University volleyball team defeated Central Connecticut in five sets Tuesday night at the Chace Athletic Center.
Sophomore Caroline Kennedy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) added 14 kills and freshman Alysa Wright (Wayne, Pa.) chipped in with a career-high 11 as the Bulldogs improved to 6-2 at the midway point of the conference schedule.
Bryant 3, Central Connecticut 2 (17-25, 25-22, 25-17, 16-25, 15-13)
Records: Bryant (11-13, 6-2), Central Connecticut (7-11, 3-3)
Location: Chace Athletic Center (Smithfield, R.I.)
Coach Garlacy's Comments
"Our team showed its true grit tonight. Our setters distributed the ball well and created a lot of one-on-one opportunities. The blocking continues to improve as does our defensive cohesiveness. This team can scrap and battle and they showed that tonight."
How it Happened
- Set 1 – The teams were tied at 13 before CCSU rattled off a 6-1 run to take control of the opening set. A kill from Kennedy got Bryant back within 20-16 but the Blue Devils responded with the next four and closed out a 25-17 first set.
- Set 2 – Bryant trailed 22-19 before responding to score the final six points of the set. Kennedy had two kills during the stretch, while junior Alisi Motu'apuaka (Virginia Beach, Va.) recorded a kill and three aces. A block from Kennedy and sophomore Haley O'Brien (Milton, Mass.) on set point evened the match.
- Set 3 – Wright notched two blocks and a kill as Bryant opened the set ahead 5-0. The Blue Devils would hang around, pulling to within 18-14 before the Bulldogs scored six of the next seven with three blocks from O'Brien. After CCSU fended off set point twice, James closed out the third with a kill.
- Set 4 – The Blue Devils put together a 15-5 lead in the fourth and coasted to a 25-16 win to force a decisive fifth set.
- Set 5 – Bryant held a three-point lead four times in the set, but CCSU continued to battle back, cutting the Bulldog advantage from 14-11 to 14-13 and prompting a Bryant timeout. Out of the stoppage, freshman Mia Cergol (East Northport, N.Y.) set James for a thunderous kill to seal the victory.
- James had 17 kills and 11 digs for the sixth double-double of her freshman campaign.
- Wright matched her career-high with six blocks, while Kennedy equaled her career-best with five. O'Brien's five blocks tied a season high.
- Junior Erika Ward (Rochester, Mich.) recorded a season-high 24 digs to improve to 1,280 for her career, 95 back of Kristin Kingi for Bryant's Division I program record.
- Motu'apuaka collected 32 assists and nine digs, while Cergol recorded a career-best 21 assists.
- Five different Bulldogs recorded an ace in the win.
- Bryant totaled 11 blocks in the win, marking the first time the Bulldogs posted double-digit block totals in back-to-back matches since Bryant did it in three straight matches from Sept. 22-28, 2018.
- Kennedy is hitting .353 in NEC play and .379 in the month of October.
- Bryant improves to 10-17 all-time against Central Connecticut and 9-15 in the Bulldogs' Division I era. The Black & Gold have won four straight matches in the series with the Blue Devils.
Bryant takes a trip to Brooklyn for a Saturday match at 4 p.m. vs. Long Island.
Tickets for 2019 home matches at the Chace Athletic Center are available HERE.