Owls Split Pair of Matches During Home Tri-Match

Nicole Wood serves during September 2018 tri-match

BRYN MAWR, Pa. - The Bryn Mawr volleyball team hosted a busy day in the Class of 1958 Gymnasium on Saturday, as the Owls welcomed Goucher and the University of Valley Forge to campus for a tri-match. Bryn Mawr opened the day with a solid win over Valley Forge, but ran into a tough Goucher squad in their second match. Sienna Burnett led the Owls with 16 total kills on the day, while Jessie Zong, Camille Baechler, and Nicole Wood also added double-digit kills during the tri-match. Goucher finished the day 2-0, as the Gophers also defeated the Patriots in the middle match of the day.

Facing off against the Patriots in the opening match of the day, the Owls got off to a fantastic start. Bryn Mawr won eight of the first 11 points of the match, using two kills from Wood, a kill from DeJoie, and multiple Valley Forge errors to run out to an 8-3 lead. However, the Patriots came storming back, as two kills from Mariah Straker sparked a 7-1 run in the middle of the set that vaulted the Patriots out in front 12-10. Bryn Mawr would not relent, though, as a service error handed the ball to the Owls and they began to take a stranglehold on the set. A kill from Jocelyn Bravo made it 12-all, and then the teams traded a few points back and forth. Camille Baechler threw down a hard spike to tie things up at 14, sparking a 6-0 run that featured back-to-back-to-back aces from Jane Rand. A kill from Zong gave Bryn Mawr a 22-15 lead, but the Patriots made one last charge to try and stay in the match. They were able to get as close as 22-23 after another kill from Straker, but a bad set and then a huge kill from Burnett closed out the set in favor of the Owls.

The hosts got off to a similarly strong start in the second frame, using kills from Zong and Baechler, another ace by Rand, and more Patriots errors to run ahead 9-3. Unfortunately for Bryn Mawr, they were once again unable to make that lead stand up, as Valley Forge leapfrogged back out in front 12-11 midway through the set. Bryn Mawr did a great job of staying neck-and-neck with the Patriots over the ensuing points, as each side traded kills and errors deep into the 20s. Eventually, Valley Forge stretched out to a slim but important 23-21 lead, just two points away from winning the set and evening up the match. However, the Owls were not interested in taking the loss in this frame, as they buckled down to win the final four points of the set. The Owls got some help from their opponents, who made two crucial errors in that stretch, but Bryn Mawr earned the win with an ace from Casandra Paiz and a massive block by Camille Baechler.

The Owls would have liked to close out the match in three straight sets, but Valley Forge managed to scrape out a win in the third frame to extend the match. The Patriots jumped out to a huge lead in that third set and never looked back, using an 11-2 lead early to coast out to a 25-20 win in the frame.

Bryn Mawr changed up their attack in the fourth set to try and spark a rally, and the new style worked. Casandra Paiz started the frame off with a kill, and although things stayed tied up at 7-7 and then 11-11, Bryn Mawr eventually started to pull away midway through the frame. A kill from Baechler lit off a 7-0 run for the Owls, which also included two more kills from Zong and another back-to-back-to-back run of aces from Rand. However, despite taking that big lead, the Owls let Valley Forge all the way back in the set thanks to too many service and attack errors. Finally, with the set tied at 22-all, the Owls were able to make one last run to seal the deal. A service error from the Patriots got Bryn Mawr out in front, and then a kill from Baechler got the Owls on match point. Valley Forge momentarily staved off elimination with a kill of their own, but the Owls closed out the set and the match thanks to one last attack error, giving Bryn Mawr the 3-1 win of the match.

Sienna Burnett led the Owls in the match with 11 kills, but the back row also came up huge for the Owls. Wood posted a staggering 33 assists in the match, tied for the 14th-most in a four-set match in Bryn Mawr volleyball history. Rand had a big match herself, posting nine aces in the match, tied for second-most in a match (of any length) in program history. Rand also led the Owls with 17 digs in the set.

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After Goucher dusted Valley Forge in straight sets, it was on to the final match of the day between Bryn Mawr and the Gophers. Once again, the Owls started strong in the first set of this one. Baechler and Wood slammed home back-to-back kills, and then did so again just two points later to stake Bryn Mawr to a 5-2 lead early on. Goucher stormed back out in front thanks to seven straight points, and from there the two sides battled back and forth through the middle of the match. Wood and Baechler continued to light up the scoreboard with kills, but Goucher still managed to pull out to an 18-13 advantage. From there, Wood stepped up even more, throwing down kills on three straight points to get Bryn Mawr back within two. However, Goucher won six of the next nine points, and despite a last-ditch rally from the Owls, the Gophers were able to hang on to win the first frame 25-22.

The second and third sets both played out in a similar fashion, with Goucher running out to big leads in early in each frame and ultimately hanging on to comfortably win both sets. Bryn Mawr tried to get their offense going, and the Owls did a great job of cleaning up the errors in this match compared to their morning contest. Bryn Mawr made just 14 attack errors in the match, even fewer than the Gophers did. However, Goucher simply proved to hot to handle. The Gophers posted 40 kills in the match, led by 11 from Kaya Melchor and 10 from Emily Sorrells. Jane Rand posted a 15-assist, 13-dig double-double for Bryn Mawr, and Wood was a major force with 11 kills in the match, but ultimately Goucher walked away with the 3-0 win in the contest.

The Owls will be right back in action at home on Wednesday evening, as they will play host to Penn State Brandywine.