Sports, Volleyball

Eagles Force Fifth Set But Fall To Wake Forest

Clare Naughton has been a prominent name for Boston College volleyball for the last five years. She has played in over 130 matches, recorded over 330 digs in her career, and, on Sunday afternoon, she earned her 1,000th kill in an Eagles’ uniform. 

“She’s been amazing for this program, you know,” BC head coach Jason Kennedy said. “We rely on her for so many things, and being able to count on somebody as much as we have, for 1,000 kills, is huge. … She’s been absolutely integral to getting this thing going in the right direction.”  

The Eagles (12–6, 2–2 Atlantic Coast) faced off against Wake Forest (10–5, 1–3) in their home gym, looking to go 2–0 for the weekend following a win over Virginia Tech on Friday. Despite coming back from down 2–0, the Eagles fell to Wake Forest in the fifth set. 

The first set was even on both sides, and the Eagles’ offense picked up thanks to the efforts of Gabby McCaa and Jenna Pollock. McCaa earned three blocks while Pollock earned five kills in the first set alone. Wake Forest got hot late in the set, however, dominating the Eagles on the block. Despite a competitive first set, the Eagles saw set one go to the Demon Deacons 25–23. 

Wake Forest came out with the same fire in the second set, forcing BC’s Amaka Chukwujekwu to make big-time plays. Chukwujekwu kept the Eagles in the game, earning two deadly kills and coming up with impressive blocks. The Demon Deacons started to run away with it in the second set, going up 18–10 and frazzling the Eagles’ offense. The Eagles stayed in it, and with Naughton serving, they went on to score seven straight points. 

Katrina Jensen, who earned five kills in the second set and went on a scoring spree toward the end of the match, led the Eagles’ offense. Back-to-back aces by Wake Forest’s Kamryn Malloy, however, allowed Wake Forest to take the second set 25–21. 

“I think we just got off to a little bit too slow of a start,” said Kennedy. 

Jensen showed off her skills again in the third set, dominating the offense with powerful kills. The Eagles went on a six-point streak to go up 16–15, brought on by powerful serves by Sophia Lambros. Despite a strong offensive showing, the Eagles couldn’t quite escape the grasp of Wake Forest, and they found themselves in a similar position as in the first two sets. 

This time the Eagles had a response. They focused on getting the next point, going on yet another six-point streak to go up 23–20. With set point on the line, Naughton earned her 10th kill of the game, sending the match into a fourth set. 

The Eagles communicated well in the fourth set, perfecting their positioning and forcing Wake Forest to make attacking errors. Wake Forest went up 25–24, but a perfectly placed kill by Naughton kept the Eagles alive. Back-to-back kills by Chukwujekwu lifted the Eagles past Wake Forest 27–25 in the fourth set, forcing a fifth and final set. 

Jensen and McCaa showcased their skills in the fifth set, sending powerful hits that Wake Forest could not get under. It wasn’t enough for the Eagles, however, who fell to Wake Forest 15–13 in the fifth set. 

“I thought we played pretty well in the last three sets,” Kennedy said. “We just didn’t come out with that same energy and intensity in the beginning.”

Featured Image by Steve Mooney / Heights Staff

October 3, 2021