Sunday, December 3, 2023

W&M Volleyball Sweeps Bucknell Invitational with Two Saturday Wins

(Tribe Athletics)

LEWISBURG, Pa. — William & Mary volleyball swept its three matches to win the Bucknell Invitational behind a pair of wins on Saturday. The Tribe (5-2) rallied for a 3-2 (25-13, 20-25, 23-25, 25-16, 15-11) win over Cornell, before rolling past Niagara, 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-17).

Match 1 vs. Cornell
In the morning match, the Tribe bounced back from a set deficit to win the final two and take a 3-2 victory over Cornell.

The opening set saw a back-and-forth battle. The two teams were tied at seven before the Tribe took control and didn’t look back.

W&M won eight of the next nine points to grab a 15-8 lead. The run was punctuated by a Lindsay Kahren ace, one of eight aces in the match for the Tribe. After the Big Red closed the gap to 17-12, William & Mary answered with another 8-1 run to grab the first set 25-13. Sophomore Sarah Callender and freshman Audrey Brcka picked up late kills to seal the deal for the Tribe.

The Big Red bounced back in set two, capitalizing on Tribe mistakes to take the frame, 25-20. W&M posted 10 errors in the set while just picking up seven kills.

William & Mary did their best to right the wrongs of the third set but were met by a superb Cornell hitting performance. The Big Red collected 17 kills compared to just three errors, hitting 42.4% and taking the set, 25-23, to jump out to a 2-1 lead in the match. The Tribe were able to tie the match at 18 and 19 thanks to an Amy Schwem ace and a Callender kill, respectively, before Cornell took the lead for good.

The Tribe stayed calm and cool with its back against the wall in set four, while showing off some hitting prowess of their own. W&M posted a hitting % of 42.3% with 12 kills and just one blunder, coasting to a 25-16 win. Kills from Eleanor StothoffTaylor Burrell and Olivia Esposito were part of a 6-0 Tribe run that proved to set the tone in the fourth.

Both teams traded blows to start the winner-take-all set with the score tied at three after a Burrell kill. She picked up another kill moments later, and after Sabrina Malcom and Brcka added kills of their own, the Tribe were up 6-4 and would lead for the rest of the set. The closest the Big Red would get down the stretch was a deficit of two as W&M took the fifth set, 15-11.

The Tribe spread the wealth statistically in Saturday’s opener. Malcom and Callender led the way with 12 kills each followed by Burrell with 11. Graduate student Emma Minnick led the Tribe in assists with 26, while Schwem picked up 22 helpers of her own. Kahren led the team with 16 digs to go along with her three aces.

Match 2 vs. Niagara
The Tribe totaled 10 blocks and limited the Eagles to just 3.8% hitting in the 3-0 win in the nightcap.

As a team, W&M hit 24.3% for the match and were led by the performances of sophomore Nicole Smith, Brcka and Malcolm. Smith led the Tribe with nine kills and two blocks. Brcka hit 70% and notched seven kills, while Malcolm finished with six kills on 50% hitting.

Minnick posted her first double-double of the season with 20 assists and 11 digs. Stothoff recorded seven kills and sophomore Ryann Love led the Tribe with 5.5 total blocks, including four block solos. Kahren led the defensive attack with 13 digs.

The Tribe jumped out to an early lead in the first set with eight-straight points. Smitch picked up back-to-back kills to force an Eagles timeout, and Burrell record three kills to give W&M a 10-2 lead.

Niagara closed to within 17-16 on a Laryssa Imburzeiro kill as part of a 7-1 run. The Tribe won four of the final five points of the to pull out the opener, 25-19. As a team, W&M hits 34.2% in the first set.

In the second set, the Tribe used a pair of 3-0 runs around an Eagles kill, to take a 19-12 lead. Smith scored the final three points of the set for W&M with two kills and the block of a Kinga Wronska attack to end it, 25-20.

W&M won four points in a row to open up a 17-13 lead in the third set capped by a block from Love and senior Maddie Meyers.

Love had a pair of solo blocks during a 5-0 run that pushed the Tribe lead to 23-15 and Brcka cemented the Green and Gold win with a kill to close out the set, 25-17.

Up Next
The Tribe travels to Ohio University to take part in the Bobcat Invitational. W&M takes on N.C. State (10:30 a.m.) and UTEP (4 p.m.) on Friday, Sept. 8, before facing the host Bobcats on Saturday, Sept. 9, at 2 p.m.

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