Sports, Fall, Volleyball

Eagles Take First Three Games at Bryant Invitational

Just six games into the 2021 season, Boston College volleyball has already tied its win total from a season ago. During the COVID-stricken 2020 season, the Eagles finished 6-12, including just four wins in the ACC. But in the early goings of the 2021 season, BC has yet to drop a game, most recently including three wins at the Bryant Invitational.

The Eagles topped off their weekend series in Smithfield, R.I. on Saturday by beating host Bryant (6-5) three sets to one, improving the Eagles’ early record to 6-0. The Bulldogs got out to an early 8-3 lead, but BC stormed back to take the first set 26-24. After a competitive first set, Bryant took set two at 25-19 to even the game at one apiece. 

Fortunately for the Eagles, they had found themselves in the same 1-1 position only a few hours earlier against Brown, the first game of their doubleheader on Saturday, which the Eagles won 3-1. 

BC came out firing with a 7-1 run to start the third set against Bryant and jumped out to a nine-point lead, keeping the Bulldogs from snatching any sort of momentum going into the final set. Set four was competitive, but the Eagles took down the Bulldogs 25-21 to finish their weekend undefeated.

Katrina Jensen led the attack for BC, posting 18 kills on the game and 41 for the tournament. Graduate captain Clare Naughton also added 16 kills for the Eagles, while sophomores Sophia Lambros and Grace Penn dished out 25 and 21 assists, respectively. Anna Murphy shined on the other side of the ball, contributing 27 digs in the final game of the weekend. 

Stellar play across the board helped the Eagles look comfortable all invitational, as they won all three of their games in four sets or fewer. 

Against Brown on Saturday, BC put on a similar performance, losing the second set but taking the match 3-1. Jensen posted 18 kills, while Murphy anchored the defense with 15 digs. Naughton shined as well, posting 14 kills and tacking on two aces and two blocks.

Standout graduate student Amaka Chukwujekwu added 13 kills and hit .733 for the match. Chukwujekwu, a two-time All-ACC Second Team member, has appeared in over 300 career games and has been a consistent starter and key contributor all four years. 

In the tournament opener against Holy Cross on Friday, Chukwujekwu hit .600 with a team-high 10 kills. BC shot .311 as a team compared to Holy Cross at .121, en route to a 3-0 sweep against the Crusaders to open the tournament. 

In contrast to last season, the Eagles have succeeded at limiting the number of errors they commit as a team thus far. Against Holy Cross in the weekend opener, BC committed just 10 errors compared to the Crusaders’ 19. On the season, BC has hit .277, averaging 13.7 kills per set, while their opponents have hit .170, averaging just 11.7 kills per set. 

Featured Image by Ikram Ali / Heights Editor

September 5, 2021