When it took the court on Friday, Boston College volleyball hadn’t suffered a loss for nine consecutive matches and 27 straight sets. As encouraging and exciting as the Eagles’ recent stretch was, the victories came at the hands of some of the lowest ranking teams in Division I.
Adversity was due to hit soon, and it arrived in a big way when BC opened up conference play Friday evening in South Bend.
Despite holding a commanding 2–1 lead through three sets, BC (11–4, 0–1 Atlantic Coast) collapsed in the final two sets to drop the ACC opener to Notre Dame (7–2, 1–0) in five sets. The Eagles lost all of their momentum after the third set and were non-competitive at times in the late stages of the match.
The set scores were 21–25, 25–16, 26–24, 15–25, and 6–15.
Alayna Crabtree and Katrina Jensen paced the Eagles with 12 kills and 10 kills, respectively. The defeat was BC’s first match to extend to five sets all season.
It was a back-and-forth affair in the beginning of the first set before a crucial Notre Dame run allowed the Fighting Irish to take command. The Eagles looked sharp as Grace Milliken delivered a kill to even the score at 13–13, but things went downhill from there for BC.
Notre Dame went on an 8–1 run—headlined by a pair of Phyona Schrader kills—to pull away from the Eagles. Despite being overwhelmed by the Irish’s powerful outside hitters, namely Ava Lange, BC charged back to get within a point at 22–21 before Notre Dame closed out the set.
BC flipped the switch, however, in the second set. The Eagles controlled play during the entire frame, never trailing once. Freshman Halle Schroder was a force for BC, registering three of her nine kills in the bounce-back set. The Eagles led by as many as nine points en route to the convincing 25–16 decision.
The Eagles maintained their high level of play in the early stages of the third set. Crabtree tallied three quick kills to give the Eagles an immediate 6–2 advantage, but the Fighting Irish fought back, eventually snatching its first lead since the first set to take a 14–13. Sydney Palazzolo, who finished with 15 kills, led the charge for Notre Dame.
But BC responded quickly and regained a three-point advantage at 18–15. BC fended off another Notre Dame charge, and it looked like the third set was sealed when the Eagles took a 24–21 lead.
The Fighting Irish made one final push, however, thanks to Lange, who had two crucial kills to bring the score even at 24–24. BC withstood the threat and won the next two points, punctuated with a Crabtree kill.
Unlike the first three sets, the Eagles looked shell-shocked in the fourth. The Fighting Irish jumped out to a 11–4 lead following a Lange kill, which forced BC head coach Jason Kennedy to burn his second and final timeout of the set. BC never recovered, and Notre Dame kept its foot on the gas, leading by as many as 12 points.
BC’s quality of play continued to deteriorate in the final set, and the Eagles were non-competitive for the most part. With the score tied at four, Notre Dame proceeded to explode for a 11–4 run to close out the match.