Just four days after Boston College volleyball reached the 21-win mark for the first time in school history, it looked to keep its season alive against Xavier Wednesday night in the third round of the 2022 National Invitational Volleyball Championship.
BC (22–13, 7–10 Atlantic Coast) made even more history on Wednesday, defeating the Musketeers (21–12, 11–7 Big East) 3–2 by scores of 23–25, 25–22, 19–25, 25–18, and 15–10.
“I mean, new program record,” BC head coach Jason Kennedy said. “It’s the program record for wins, you know, and just the way these guys battled, that’s a really good Xavier team and for us to find a way to come back down 2–1 and not really falter, it’s maturity, it’s growth, it’s a huge step forward in the right direction.”
Both teams remained close throughout much of the first set, but a pair of BC rallies toward the end of the set made for a thrilling finish.
Xavier jumped out to a 23–18 lead and looked poised to take a 1–0 lead in the set count, but Kennedy called a timeout to gather his team.
After the timeout, BC cut its deficit to 24–23 led by two aces from Alayna Crabtree, but a close call on the line didn’t go in favor of BC and Xavier took the first set.
After dropping the first set, the Eagles entered the second set firing on all cylinders, jumping out to a 9–4 lead sparked by a 5–0 run that started after a miscommunication between two Musketeers let the ball drop in the middle of the court.
Xavier tied the game at 10–10, but Kate Brennan creatively shifted her body to go into position for the block, and promptly sent the ball flying back over the net for a kill. Brennan set up the Eagles for an 8–1 run.
But the Musketeers would not go out with a fight, and a 22–22 tie put BC on the brink of going down 2–0 in a game that would have ended their season. In crunch time, the Eagles executed with three straight points including kills from Silvia Ianeselli and Izzy Clavenna.
“It’s a good thing we closed that out because if we don’t we might lose the match 3–0,” Kennedy said.
The two teams traded sets three and four, with neither team setting its foot down convincingly. Tied 2–2, both BC and Xavier went into set five with their seasons on the line.
After Xavier went up 1–0 to start the set, BC scored four straight points and never lost its lead. A Julia Haggerty kill clinched the game for the Eagles, extending their history-making record to 22 wins.
“Anytime that you’re down two to one, you’ve got to find a way to win that fourth set, because if you don’t, you lose the momentum, and you make the fifth that much harder,” Kennedy said. “We were up a little bit in the fourth and we wanted to find a way to close it out with a little bit of ease. We wanted to keep them under 20. And then to come back and be up 8–3 at the switch in the fifth set was huge.”