Boston College volleyball went 10–0 to start the year, its best start in program history. But since its first loss, the Eagles have struggled to get back on track. With losses to No. 2 Louisville and Notre Dame on Friday and Sunday, BC has now and lost its last four conference games.
On Friday, BC took on the Fighting Irish as both teams looked to earn their second ACC win. Notre Dame (7–9, 2–3 Atlantic Coast) edged out BC (13–7, 1–5) 4–1 by scores of 27–29, 21–25, 25–13, and 23–25. Two days earlier the Eagles fell to Louisville (15–1, 6–0) in three sets by scores of 15–25, 20–25, and 13–25.
In Sunday’s match, errors plagued the Eagles. BC recorded 34 errors throughout the game.
In the first set, the Eagles stormed out to a quick 3–0 lead before Notre Dame came back, tying the game 4–4. The entire set was close, with the score tied 10 times with five lead changes. Led by Lauren Tarnoff who recorded five blocks, Notre Dame edged out the Eagles, winning 29–27. Twelve BC errors aided the Irish.
A bright spot for the Eagles, Alayna Crabtree led the team with six kills in the first set. She finished the match with 14 kills, second on BC’s roster behind Izzy Clavenna who tallied 18.
BC got out to a 6–1 lead in the second set, but once again, Notre Dame came back to tie the game 11–11 and proceeded to take the lead. BC struggled to get past Notre Dame’s blockers, primarily Lauren Tarnoff and Kaylyn Winkler. Once again, errors hurt BC, and the Eagles recorded eight throughout the set, which they lost 25–21.
“We’ve got to find a way to be a little more diligent with the balls that we can score on versus the balls that we need to just chip and play,” BC head coach Jason Kennedy said.
The Eagles flipped the switch in the third set, winning 25–13. They gained a 13–4 lead thanks to aces by Alayna Crabtree and Sofia Lambros. Strong serving and minimizing errors gave BC an 11-point lead on a 7–0 scoring run. The Eagles were dominant, recording 14 kills to the Irish’s six.
Grace Penn was key to the Eagles’ victory in set three. She recorded 34 assists throughout the match.
“I thought we served well, I thought we found a couple of good spots to serve,” Kennedy said. “We were able to pull ahead and comfortably play.”
BC continued to gain momentum throughout the beginning of the fourth set. After a tight first few points, BC came out with a 15–8 lead, aided by an Anna Murphy ace and a big block by Crabtree and Silvia Ianeselli. A 7–0 scoring run brought Notre Dame within one, though, and from there it was neck and neck. If BC scored, the Irish equalized. Notre Dame won out, winning 25–-23.
“It’s just confidence,” Kennedy said. “We’ve just got to find the drive to close [the sets] out”.
On Friday, BC faced its toughest opponent yet in Louisville, who entered the game with only one loss against No. 6 Ohio State.
The Eagles started the night by honoring junior setter Lambros passing 1,000 career assists on Oct. 2 against Wake Forest.
“She’s just been, I mean, for the most part … half of our offense,” Kennedy said. “She’s been a real physical, athletic center for us who we count on every night to be able to move the ball around, and we count on her serves to get us key points just like she did tonight. She’s been a real core of this group for the last three years.”
BC and the Cardinals traded points back and forth up to a 14–14 tie in the first set. The stands became electric as the two teams battled.
The Eagles entered a difficult stretch in the second half of the first set giving up 10 straight points to the Cardinals before Katrina Jensen ended the streak with a kill. This streak proved to be too much for the Eagles to overcome though, as they dropped the first set 25–15.
In a competitive, back-and-forth second set the Eagles came up short 25–20. Entering the third set, the Eagles looked to make a comeback, Louisville dominated, however, winning the set 25–13.
“I think the reality is we gave up one run in each set that ended up costing us the match,” Kennedy said. “You know I think in the first set it was a nine-point run, in the last set it was an eight-point run, in the second set it was a four point run. You know, you take those runs out of it and I think we are really competitive in the 20s.”