Volleyball, Fall, Sports

Eagles Defeat Merrimack and Stonehill, Win Streak Extended to Nine

While the culmination of Sunday’s two games against Stonehill and Merrimack resulted in 27 straight set wins, a Boston College volleyball program record, the Eagles did not seem to be fazed by the accomplishment or the streak when the final point was scored.

Rather, the team immediately rushed toward the sideline to celebrate its win with Leah Tran, BC’s Team IMPACT Player. 

“Leah has been a part of our program now for a few months, and I think we added her officially in April, and she’s been a great addition,” BC head coach Jason Kennedy said. “Everybody’s rooting for her. She’s an inspiration to all of us.”

The Eagles (11–3) closed out the BC-Harvard Cohost on Sunday, and they easily swept Stonehill (0–14) and Merrimack (1–9). With Sunday’s wins, the Eagles have won their last nine games, eight of which have been sweeps for a total of 27 straight set wins.

“I think it’s an impressive streak,” Kennedy said. “I don’t think we come out here with the intent to win 27 sets straight, but we certainly come out here with the intent to win 3–0 every night, and the fact that it’s accumulated now to 27 in a row is pretty fun.”

On Sunday afternoon, the Eagles put on a show in their matchup with Merrimack. BC was led by Katrina Jensen, who tallied 10 kills on a .300 hit percentage, and Audrey Ross, who racked up nine kills and a .280 hit percentage.

The set scores were 25–15, 25–17, and 25–21.

“I thought Audrey Ross came in and played a huge role this weekend for us, where we didn’t use her quite as much the weekend prior,” Kennedy said. But she’s come in and she’s added a new wrinkle to our offense that has helped quite a bit.”

The Warriors were able to stay close to BC through the first few rallies of the opening set, but Grace Penn’s back-to-back service aces, along with Ross and Julia Haggerty’s strong kills, allowed the Eagles to establish an early 11–6 lead and force a Merrimack timeout.

But Merrimack could never fully close the gap, and a Brooklyn Yelland ace gave BC the first set win.

The Eagles wasted no time jumping out to an early lead in the second set. A soaring Halle Schroder sent a missile into the canvas, which made it a 7–3 lead, but Merrimack didn’t drop the set easily. The Warriors brought the set to 19–17, but three straight BC blocks, and then two kills from Alayna Crabtree, solidified the Eagles’ second set win. 

The Warriors, however, refused to let the game get too far away from them, and they closed the gap to 21–20 in the third and final set. But BC kept the pressure on, and Ross executed on a kill to give BC its ninth straight win.

Earlier in the day, it took no time for BC to establish it was the better-equipped squad in its matchup against Stonehill. Led by two quick service aces from Crabtree in the first set, BC quickly established a 4–0 lead over the Skyhawks and never looked back.

“I think our serving really set the tone for both matches, you know,” Kennedy said. “For us, it starts from the serving line. That’s our first attack. And then we kind of deal from there.”

The set scores were 25–14, 25–14, and 25–16.

The closest Stonehill pulled within the Eagles’ early lead would be two points, but back-to-back kills from Crabtree took the Skyhawks out of striking range. 

Assisted by three straight errors on Stonehill’s side of the net, BC extended its lead to 20–12. The Skyhawks could only muster two more points before Penn’s service ace put the nail in the coffin of the first set.

It took the Eagles a little longer to break away from Stonehill in the second set. A Hanna Hoffman service error made the set score 8–6, but five straight points for the Eagles—which featured Schroder and Samantha Hoppes each registering a kill—pushed BC back into a comfortable 13–6 lead. 

Schroder and Jenna Pollock continued to dominate the second set. Schroder finished with three kills while Pollock delivered five, including the final kill to give BC a 2–0 advantage in the contest.

Stonehill stayed in contention early in the third set and remained within two points of the Eagles, but once again, BC was able to break the back and forth and seize control. An Audrey Ross kill started the Eagles’ run, and it was quickly followed by five more points to make it 15–7. The Skyhawks never rebounded, and BC coasted into its eighth straight win.

September 17, 2023