SMITHFIELD, RI – The Sacred Heart women's volleyball team endured its second five-setter in two days, Saturday at the Chace Athletic Center. After going up two sets on the evening, Bryant won the next two to force the deciding set and the Bulldogs would prevail for the 3-2 match victory.
Makayla Dole and Liisel Nelis attained double figures. Dole notched her feat with a game-high 21 kills and 11 digs. Nelis' 12 kills were accompanied by 16 digs. Kiki Robinson directed the Pioneers' offense with a match-best 41 helpers. On the defensive end, Madi Pope added 18 more digs to her arsenal while Gianna Scioletti (7), Julia Murawinski (7), Rianna McNamee (3), Dole (3) and Robinson added blocks.
Julia Flynn and Kiley Robbins planted 14 and 13 respective kills for Bryant. Kirstyn Sperry totaled 25 assists while Alisi Motu'apuaka was four shy of her teammate. Ally Lunsford (9) and Kiley Robbins (7) registered blocks.
Sacred Heart – 11-14, 5-7 NEC
Bryant – 19-11, 9-3 NEC
First Set: SHU 27-25
- Bryant took an early 3-0 lead but would let Sacred Heart back in indicated by the 8-up score established on a miscue by Flynn.
- The Bulldogs won the succeeding five points before Nikki Kim mismanaged her serve, 13-9.
- Nelis sailed back-to-back kills adding to a 3-0 run by SHU to fill in some of the gap, 21-18, after Bryant built up its largest set lead of six points.
- On another kill from Nelis, Sacred Heart evened the playing field at 24 apiece and would again at 25-up as Dole landed her attack.
- Kingi mishandled her attack allowing SHU to go ahead a point. McNamee and Dole shared credit on the rejection on the following play successfully sealing the late come-from-behind set victory.
Second Set: SHU 25-12
- This set opened on even footing as neither team went up by more than two points through the set's first 19 points.
- With the score at 10-9, Scioletti whizzed an attack through Bryant's reach snowballing a six-point flurry for Sacred Heart, 16-9.
- SHU doubled the foe's score, 20-10, on the tail end of a 4-0 spurt. The run included kills from Scioletti, Dole and McNamee.
- The Pioneers continued to steamroll, relinquishing only two points to Bryant as they coasted to a consecutive set victory.
Third Set: BRY 27-25
- Midway through the set, both teams contributed significant runs. SHU helped open the set with a 5-0 run, 6-1. Bryant then negated the Pioneers' streaking offense with a 9-0 spurt, 10-6. Sacred Heart then rattled off five unanswered points, 11-10.
- The Bulldogs' Lunsford landed a kill to plateau the score at 11-up.
- From there, each club traded points, remaining in striking distance of one another.
- The final tie came at 24-24. SHU would go ahead one on a mistake committed by the hosts.
- Unfortunately, Bryant would hold off any more SHU scoring while mounting on three more points for the set win.
Fourth Set: BRY 25-17
- Similar to the third set, both Bryant and Sacred Heart traded points up until the 15-15 mark.
- The Bulldogs erupted for a 7-0 surge for a lead Sacred Heart would fail to negate.
- Dole achieved the final kill for the Pioneers at 22-16. The only other point added for SHU came at the cost of a bad set by Motu'Apuaka, 23-17.
- Bryant earned the next two points to even the match score.
Fifth Set: BRY 15-8
- This set endured three ties, the last one tallied at 5-5, which was the start of a 5-0 run for the Bulldogs.
- Nelis capped back-to-back points for the visitors with her kill bringing the score to 8-7 in favor of the Bulldogs.
- Bryant eked out a critical 3-0 run putting the Pioneers' down four, 11-7.
- Robbins' error shortened the Bulldogs' lead 11-8.
- Regrettably, the Pioneers' were unable to add another point to its total seeing Bryant tack on four more for the match win.
Sacred Heart continues its road trip concluding its season slate in Brooklyn. The Pioneers play LIU Brooklyn, Friday, November 10 at 6:00 pm. SHU gets its chance at St. Francis Brooklyn the following day in time for a 4:00 pm serve.