Sports, Fall, Volleyball

Alayna Crabtree and Jenna Pollock Lead BC to Five-Set Win Over Bryant

Boston College volleyball staved off a late-game charge from Bryant to secure a crucial 3–2 non-conference victory in its second straight home win

The Eagles (13–3, 1–1 Atlantic Coast) dominated the first two sets before Bryant (10–7, 0–0 Northeast) pushed them to a deciding fifth set in which BC outlasted Bryant 15–11. BC won the game by scores of 25–10, 25–13, 14–25, 22–25, and 15–11.

The Eagles took control of the first set instantly, racing out to a 13–2 lead. Outside hitters Alayna Crabtree and Jenna Pollock led the Eagles offensively, overpowering the Bulldogs with kills. Crabtree finished the set with three kills and Pollock finished with four. As a team, BC recorded 12 kills, 15 digs, and four blocks in the first set. 

“They’ve improved from day one this year,” BC head coach Jason Kennedy said of Crabtree and Pollock. “We’re starting to rely on both of them more and more.”

The Bulldogs began to provide some resistance as the set wore on, but BC still coasted to a comfortable 25–10 advantage to go up 1–0. 

Bryant carried over some of its improved play into the second set, and the Bulldogs were much more competitive. Emma McGovern was especially instrumental in the Bulldogs’ play, registering two consecutive kills to score Bryant’s fifth and sixth points. 

But the Eagles settled into the set and went on a 13–4 run to build a sizable lead. They went on to win the set 25–13 thanks to a pair of consecutive kills by freshman Anna Herrington. 

Though outplayed for a large portion of the match, the Bulldogs did not go down quietly. They began the third set with a 10–1 lead, taking advantage of BC errors. Bryant maintained its high level of play and cruised to a 18–7 advantage, which McGovern capped with another kill. The Bulldogs won the third set 25–14.

“I thought we came out really well for the first two sets, and then we kind of let our foot off the gas,” Kennedy said.

It looked like the Eagles were regaining control in the early stages of the fourth set when they stormed out to a quick 5–0 lead. Katrina Jensen rattled off three kills to push the Eagles out in front, prompting a Bryant timeout. After the timeout, Bryant rallied, claiming a 12–11 lead and then pushing it to 15–12, thanks to a pair of kills by Maggie Ryan. 

“I think [Bryant] found their rhythm,” Kennedy said. “They hit the ball hard. They’re not afraid to compete. That’s a team I like playing because they present a good challenge.”

Bryant continued to capitalize on BC errors, and it rode its momentum to a critical fourth set victory, 25–22. 

“Oh, it’s huge,” Kennedy said about the role momentum played in the match. “You get on a couple of runs here and that’s the end of the set. You can’t make too many mistakes.”

Having seized the momentum, the Bulldogs came out energized again in the deciding fifth set. After trading points with the Eagles, Bryant strung together a few points to take a 10–8 edge. Pollock responded with two consecutive kills for BC to level the score. 

“They got up on us 10–8 pretty good,” Kennedy said. “Fortunately, we made a couple of plays that I think really swung the momentum pretty quick.”

The Eagles finished strong on the way to a fifth-set win, edging Bryant 15–11. Kate Brennan punctuated the 3–2 victory for BC with a decisive kill for the Eagles’ second consecutive five-set win. 

September 28, 2022