Sports, Fall, Volleyball

Eagles Go Neck-and-Neck with No. 11 Yellow Jackets, Drop 3–2 Loss

Reacting to a Sophia Lambros set, Alayna Crabtree rose up to meet the ball at its apex, only to let it go. The ball soared past Crabtree, which met the force of Katrina Jensen’s swinging hand shortly thereafter. Jensen pounded the ball into the ground, earning a point for Boston College volleyball and clinching the fourth set over Georgia Tech with a roaring crowd clamoring behind them. 

“Our offense just got into rhythm,” BC head coach Jason Kennedy said. “We were initiating a lot of things. We were serving them tough, we were going after it from the attack line, we were hitting the ball with pace. I thought very much we were kind of dictating play.”

The dominant fourth set saw a return to form for the Eagles, who had won the first set but had dropped the following two to go down 2–1. The fourth set resulted in a 25–18 final score in favor of BC, with the lead growing to as much as nine throughout. Jensen recorded four kills in the set, and added a block assist. Julia Haggarty and Jenna Pollock also added three kills each, and combined for three block assists.  

“I learned they’re pretty resilient,” Kennedy said. “You get a back-and-forth match, you win the first, lose the second and third, we could’ve pretty easily folded at that point. For us to be able to come back and take the fourth set—I think showed some resiliency.”  

With “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” blaring in the background, the spark that was the fourth set for the Eagles offered not only a glimmer of hope, but a forceful confidence in the team and fans alike that BC could pull off a comeback upset against No. 11 Georgia Tech (18–3, 9–2 Atlantic Coast). While the beginning of the fifth set saw BC play with the same confidence it had in the fourth set, jumping to a 5–3 lead, the Yellow Jackets dominated the rest of the set, ending on a 5–0 run to beat the Eagles (14–11, 3–8) 3–2.  

The set scores were 25–20, 25–19, 25–18, 25–18, and 15–9.

“I thought we played the first half of the fifth set kinda with that same energy,” Kennedy said. “Then we started to get a little bit tight and I think that faded a little bit.”

BC’s dominant fourth set and beginning of the fifth was reminiscent of the first, in which the Eagles acquired the lead after the first point and never gave it up. BC registered 18 kills to Georgia Tech’s 15 and committed only two errors compared to Georgia Tech’s four. Jensen recorded five kills in the set, while Halle Schroder and Crabtree each had four.  

Georgia Tech flipped the script in the second set, winning the first point and never surrendering its lead. The Yellow Jackets even suppressed BC’s hot start in the third set that saw the Eagles leading 8–5, clawing their way back to win it 25–18. 

“The consistency is what we have to work on,” Kennedy said. “We always tried to identify and be able to play with some pace, and I think we did that for more than half of the match.” 

Ultimately, BC’s comeback attempt fell short, and errors played a large role as the Eagles recorded six errors in the fifth set alone. BC’s error rate throughout the first four sets was 7.3 points per error, while it was only four points per error in the fifth.  

Standouts from the game included three seniors—Grace Penn, Anna Murphy, and Jensen—and one junior, Haggarty. Penn led the Eagles with 26 assists while also tallying 10 digs. Murphy, a libero, recorded a team-high 21 digs and added five assists. Jensen led the team with 13 kills and added three blocks, and Haggerty recorded eight blocks, a team-leading figure, while also adding 10 kills. 

“They’re a top-15 team in the country, so for us to be able to come out and take them down to the wire is a really good result,” Kennedy said. “We’ve proven we can play with one of the top teams in the country.”

Regardless of the loss, Kennedy remained optimistic. 

“We’ve gotta just get back to the drawing board, be a little more consistent, and continue clicking on the offensive side,” Kennedy said. “We just have to keep building on it.” 

October 28, 2023