Coming into Wednesday’s match against Syracuse riding a five-game losing streak, Boston College volleyball had only won two of its last 17 sets.
In Wednesday’s first set, neither program could gain a true advantage, and it appeared the Eagles could fall into an all-too familiar hole. But Katrina Jensen fired off powerful back-to-back kills to give BC a 22–17 advantage. Alayna Crabtree and Julia Haggerty followed with a subsequent kill and block, and a Syracuse service error gave the Eagles the first-set win.
BC rode that momentum for the rest of the match, as the Eagles (15–12, 4–9 Atlantic Coast) went on to defeat Syracuse (2–21, 0–13) 3–0 at home. The set scores were 25–18, 25–14, and 25–18.
The Eagles couldn’t break open any lead in the first set, as both teams continually matched each other point for point until Syracuse took a 10–8 lead. BC committed four errors in that span.
“It took some time to get into rhythm and I think our [offensive plays] started to trickle into play a little more comfortably as the match went on, for sure,” BC head coach Jason Kennedy said.
Up 15–14 after a timeout, BC came back out with a significantly more aggressive playing style. Taking more offensive chances was paramount to BC’s strong finish, as it forced Syracuse to send over more free balls and slip into a more hurried playing style. The Eagles went on a 4–0 run to jump ahead to a 20–15 lead via a Cornelia Roach kill and didn’t look back.
“I think we upped the velocity a little bit on the attacking, and that’s certainly something we’ve been working on,” Kennedy said.
The lead changed 16 times and the score was tied 13 times in the back-and-forth first set.
BC’s Sophia Lambros carried the momentum into the second set, as she opened the set with an ace. The Eagles displayed strong ball placement and offensive variety, keeping Syracuse’s defense on its toes.
Two Crabtree kills spearheaded an 8–3 BC run that put the Eagles ahead 18–7, forcing Syracuse to call its last set timeout. Haggerty’s blocking skills were on full display as well, as BC managed to get its hands on most attacks Syracuse tried to send over the net. This forced longer rallies and more Syracuse hitting errors, allowing BC to stay on the offensive for the majority of the set.
The Orange totaled a game-high 12 errors in the second set.
After the Syracuse timeout, BC ran away with the set to win 25–14 off a Syracuse attack error.
But Syracuse pulled ahead at the start of the third set with a more aggressive playstyle, especially with its serves. Veronica Sierzant blasted a service ace to put the Orange up 4–3.
“They were able to create some service pressure that we didn’t see in the first two sets,” Kennedy said.
Despite this, BC did not allow its superb blocking or offensive play style to die down. The Eagles pulled back ahead 12–11 on a Sierzant attack error, forcing Syracuse to call another timeout.
Jensen didn’t let up, however, as she registered two kills to put BC ahead 20–17. The Eagles finished the set on a 5–0 run off back-to-back Jensen kills to sweep the Orange and snap their losing streak.
The senior Jensen led both teams with 10 kills, and she hit .643 in the match with three blocks as well.
“I thought Kat Jensen was really pretty solid again today, I think that’s the third match in a row she’s been pretty excellent,” Kennedy said.