By David F.P. [Modest Image Gallery]
FAIRFIELD,CT- the Sacred Heart Pioneers and Bryant Bulldogs went at it in a five set thriller Sunday afternoon at the Pitt Center. In a match which featured special theatrics due to a malfunctioning fire alarm for part of a set, SHU narrowly edged the visitors to pick up the 3-2 win.
Both teams reached out to a 7-7 tie in the first before Sacred Heart started to roll, Johanna Ovsenek had a kill just in bounds, though Bryant’s Kendall Gaffney responded, this did prevent two points coming from Kimmee Roleder, and a jumping kill from Ovsenek, as well as a double hit by Bryant to place the score at 12-8.
They kept rolling following a Bryant point, Alissa Young had a smash off the D, Dianis Mercado added a kill, and Elise Sage used a backhanded attack, and had a kill after that, a Bryant lift error, and another kill from Roleder ended the run at 18-9. The teams traded points including Bryant’s Jazmin Stoner adding kill from the block but it was soon 21-12 after Roleder blasted a ball off a Bulldog and to the far wall. After that Young hacked the ball off the block. Two more Bryant errors put SHU at set point, but Stoner held things off one point before a Pioneer ended the set 25-13.
Bryant opened set 2 on a tear with 5 straight points including Maria Scocca and Stoner coming up with a block, Scocca added a kill right after, then Stoner had a kill, Lorenzo and Scocca shared a block, and later Scocca had a block. Sacred Heart picked up their first point, two more Bryant points would follow, though Roleder sent a kill off the defenders. Bryant picked up two more points including an apparent block from multiple players. Ovsenek broke the scoring run again and SHU benefited from an attack error from the Bulldogs but Bryant pulled ahead to 10-4. An attack error and a serve from Roleder put Sacred heart back within 4, but the chase was real on all the way to 16-20. Points for Bryant included Alexandra Clyburn’s hit from the net, a kill from Kaitlyn Klein, and another kill from Clyburn, and a block from Emily Kaup and Clyburn, before Stoner added another kill. SHU picked up points in part from Sage’s tap attack, a kill from Mercado, another kill from Sage, a kill from Maile Hetherington, and two straight kills from Roleder, and later a service ace from her.
Young cut the lead with a kill, but Klein and Scocca each added points. A block from Young and an attack error by Bryant cut the lead back to 3, but Bryant edged closer to 25 with their 23rd point. Two straight kills from Sage cut the lead to 2, but a cross court smash from Stoner cut it again. Sage tapped over the block to cut things to 2, but Kaup ended the set giving Bryant a 25-22 set win.
Sacred Heart returned with a vengeance in set 3 reaching a 12-6 lead early. SHU offense included kills from Roleder, Mercado, a block from Roleder, and a later Mercado cross court blast. Bryant picked up a few points off errors primarily. The two teams traded 6 points each to reach 18-12. Mercado, Sage, and Roleder all continued their kills. Lorenzo had a kill, as did Stoner’s rocket, and Stoner, Kaup, and Scocca each apparently shared a block.
Stoner cut the lead following a time out, and later a team block, and an ace from Leigh Fishback cut the lead even further to 19-15 SHU. Sacred Heart held on to a 25-21 set win thanks in part due to Young’s k ill, an ace from Jessica Colberg. Other Bryant points included a kill from Macy Mitravich, and a put down at the net from Lorenzo.
Things got even closer in the fourth set when the two teams volleyed to an 18-18 tie. For Bryant offense came from many sources included Stoner’s missile, and a kill right after, a shared block from Kaup, Scocca, and Stoner, two more kills from Stoner, two kills from Kaup including one just in bounds, a kill from Scocca, and she shared a block with Klein, later Gaffney landed a spike just in bounds, a kill from Stoner, and a kill from Klein through the block.
Sacred Heart’s offense consisted in part from a rocket from Roleder, and a kill from her later, another kill from Mercado, a shared block from Young and Saga, a cross court kill from Sage, a few more kills from Roleder, another from Hetherington, and a kill from Ovsenek.
Klein took the lead for Bryant with a tap, but Young responded as well. Clyburn and Lorenzo however each added a point to give the Bulldogs a 21-19 lead.
The Pioneers attempted to regroup but Scocca’s block added a 3 point lead. The two teams traded point and SHU tried a comeback thanks to two straight kills from Roleder, but Gaffney and Scocca ended it 25-22.
Each team had two sets in their pocket so onto the 15 point set 5 the teams went. Sacred Heart rolled to a 5-2 lead to start things off, as Mercado played a major roll in the offense as did Roleder. Bryant’s time out didn’t prevent Roleder and Ovsenek had a block, and another point followed. With the score 7-2, Bryant added another point, but Ovsenek’s tip over brought the lead to 8-3 and the two teams switched sides. Roleder kept the run going with a smash and a team block placed the score at 10-3.
Bryant fought back getting the score to 13-8, but an attack error ended their scoring and a block from Sage and Mercado ended set and match 15-8.
Statistics wise, Roleder finished the day with 25 kills and a hit percentage of .511. Mercado had 13, Ovsenek 10, and Sage 10. Roleder also had 4 aces on the day. Alisa Mesa had 34 assists for the Pioneers and libero Colberg had 24 digs. Sage had 5 blocks on the day and Young had 4, amidst the 18 they had.
For Bryant, Stoner had 13 kills, Scocca 7, and Clyburn and Kaup each had 6. Lorenzo had 36 assists. Elena Lohr and Lorenzo each had 12 digs. Scocca had 10 blocks, Kaup 6 blocks, and Stoner 5 blocks.
With the hard fought win, Rob Machan’s Sacred Heart squad leapt to 2-0 in conference and 11-4 overall. Theresa Garlacy’s Bryant contingent dropped to 0-2 in conference and 5-11 overall.
Editor’s Note: This is based on notes taken at the match, normally verified against the official play by play if possible. Reports focus on offense since it is easier to track but note defensive play whenever possible. It is difficult to note things like digs and assists although they are no doubt vital to the game. Also, a lot happens in a volleyball game, far more than can fit into a report, so this just notes some of it.