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Ward breaks D1 digs record but Bryant falls to LIU

Photo by DSPics.com
Photo by DSPics.com

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Junior Erika Ward (Rochester, Mich.) broke the program's Division I career digs record and sophomore Caroline Kennedy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) recorded her third-straight match of 17 kills, but the Bryant University volleyball team was downed by Long Island in five sets Friday at the Chace Athletic Center.

Ward tallied 18 digs to pass Kristin Kingi for the Division I program record of 1,375 set last November. Kennedy hit .467 (17-3-30) in the contest and was in on two of Bryant's nine blocks.

Match Information
Long Island 3, Bryant 2 (25-21, 23-25, 25-19, 23-25, 9-15)
Records: Bryant (15-15, 10-4), Long Island (9-16, 8-5)
Location: Chace Athletic Center (Smithfield, R.I.) 

Coach Garlacy's Comments
"It was a hard-fought battle. We had a really good hitting percentage and did well statistically. Unfortunately we made mistakes at the wrong time late in the match and it cost us." 

How it Happened

  • Set 1 – LIU led 17-15 in the opening set before Bryant scored the next three to go back in front by one. After a Sharks point tied the set at 21, the Bulldogs ran off the next four, as an ace from Ward, block from Kennedy and sophomore Haley O'Brien (Milton, Mass.) and set-point kill by Kennedy gave the first set to the home team.
  • Set 2 – The Sharks scored five consecutive points to go ahead 12-10 and would not trail again until an LIU attack error put Bryant in front 18-17. The visitors answered with the next three and the teams would trade the lead back and forth with Bryant leading 23-22 on a double by the LIU setter. The Sharks responded with the final three points of the set to even the match.
  • Set 3 – Bryant scored five of the set's first six points and after a service error brought LIU within 7-5, the Bulldogs received three straight kills from freshmen, as Riley James (Pocasset, Mass.), Alysa Wright (Wayne, Pa.) and Emma McGovern (Long Beach, N.Y.) teamed up to get the Black & Gold to double digits at 10-5. Bryant would lead by at least three for the remainder of a 25-19 third set.
  • Set 4 – LIU had a 22-15 cushion in its fourth-set win, but Bryant would make things interesting down the stretch, scoring five out of six and then fending off set point three times before the Sharks grabbed a 25-23 decision. McGovern had two blocks during the 8-2 run.
  • Set 5 – The set was tied 4-4 before a 6-1 LIU run put the Sharks in control. Bryant would chip away and get back within two on a Wright kill at 11-9, but LIU scored the final four points to leave Smithfield with a key conference win.

Stats/Notes

  • Ward's 18-dig performance put the junior at 1,380 for her career, five better than Kingi's mark set last season.
  • Kennedy's 17 kills matched her season-high set Friday and Saturday. The sophomore has hit .350 or better eight times in NEC play and is hitting .353 with 3.10 kills per set in conference matches.
  • James added 15 kills and 13 digs for her third-straight double-double and sixth in NEC action.
  • McGovern collected nine kills, 12 digs and four blocks. The Long Islander averaged 1.00 blocks per set in the two regular season matches against the Sharks.
  • O'Brien and Wright both contributed to four blocks.
  • Sophomore Jenna Knight (Scottsdale, Ariz.) matched her season-high with 10 kills.
  • Junior Alisi Motu'apuaka (Virginia Beach, Va.) recorded 28 assists, while freshman Mia Cergol (East Northport, N.Y.) added a career-high 25.
  • Bryant drops to 5-19 all-time against Long Island.
  • The Bulldogs are 10-4 through 14 NEC matches for the third time in four seasons. Bryant was 11-3 last season after 14 conference contests. The NEC schedule has increased from 14 to 16 matches this season with the addition of Merrimack as a conference member.
  • Bryant honored graduating seniors Brianna Bruny (Biscayne Park, Fla.) and Nicole Kim (River Edge, N.J.) prior to the match. Bruny tallied a kill and an assist in two sets of action while Kim recorded four digs in the contest.

Up Next
Bryant plays its final two matches of the regular season next weekend in Connecticut, facing Central Connecticut Friday and Sacred Heart Saturday. 

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