Sports, Fall, Volleyball

Thanksgiving Roundup: Eagles Defeat Wake Forest and Miami in Late-Season Rematches

After Boston College volleyball’s Katrina Jensen jumped into the air and earned the final kill against Miami, her teammates ran toward her, hugging, smiling, and even crying. Not only because she had secured a BC win against the Hurricanes in the fifth set, but also because Jensen had finished her Eagles career with a phenomenal performance.  

BC’s final regular-season matchup in 2023 could probably be referred to as the Jensen game. Jensen notched a staggering 21 kills and a .372 hit percentage en route to the Eagles’ 3–2 win. 

“I thought Jensen was phenomenal in the fifth set,” BC head coach Jason Kennedy said. “For her to come right at it with good control and aggression, that’s something that we have been working with her on for the last four years. The fact that she was able to make that play really changed the outcome of that match.” 

Despite losing 3–0 to Miami (17–11, 10–8 Atlantic Coast) earlier in the season, the Eagles (19–13, 8–10) swept the Hurricanes in Saturday’s rematch, winning 3–2. Three days earlier, on Wednesday, BC toppled Wake Forest (17–12, 8–10) on the road 3–1. The Eagles ended their 2023 regular-season campaign on a three-game win streak. 

The set scores in the Miami game were 25–18, 25–23, 25–19, 25–21, and 15–12, while the scores against the Demon Deacons were 25–21, 25–14, 25–18, and 25–20.  

On Saturday, Miami quickly pulled away with the lead in the latter part of the first set. With the score at 22–18, the Hurricanes capitalized off a kill and two BC attack errors to capture the set. 

“In the first set, we didn’t have the offensive rhythm that we would like to be able to have,” Kennedy said. “[Miami] ran away with it because we didn’t seem quite dialed in.” 

The second set proved to be much more pivotal. A Julia Haggerty kill would propel the Eagles to a 3–2 deficit after giving up three straight points to open the set. Alayna Crabtree then delivered another kill to tie the contest at three apiece. From this point on, the Eagles gained offensive momentum that remained throughout the rest of the match. 

BC continued its rally to give itself a 25–23 second-set win against Miami following a kill by Halle Schroder. Schroder’s kill—she registered 12 kills in the match—kept the Eagles’ hopes high. 

“In the three sets that we won, we hit over .200 and were pretty solid throughout,” Kennedy said. “I think it was more on us than on them, and we were able to come out of it on the right side.”

Sweeping the second set was the spark that BC needed, as it would dominate the third set, earning 14 kills and creating a six-point, third-set win over Miami at 25–19. 

“We were resilient and we battled through a match that was pretty tight throughout,” Kennedy said. “I just thought that our aggression made the difference during the game.” 

In the fourth set, Haggerty’s blocks and Audrey Ross’ kills carried the Eagles to the finish line, and it was a jumping Jensen who sent the ball flying onto Miami’s side of the court to give BC its 19th win of the season. 

“All six of the seniors contributed significantly throughout the match,” Kennedy said. “We wouldn’t have the program or this win without them. You always want to send your seniors out with a win, and the fact that it was a win against a very, very good Miami team makes it a little more special. I think it is a win that they will remember for a long time, and it is a win that will stick with the program for a while.”

In BC’s rematch against Wake Forest on Wednesday, the Eagles swiftly won the game 3–1. BC lost to the then-No. 8 Demon Deacons on Oct. 6, but came back for the late-season rematch with a vengeance.  

The first two sets of the contest went the Eagles’ way, and their dominance could not be denied as the team delivered 20 kills and eight blocks combined. The third set followed a different pattern, as BC had 10 attack errors and seven kills compared to Wake Forest’s three attack errors and 12 kills.  

In the fourth set, however, BC secured its victory with 10 kills and four attack errors—the Demon Deacons’ 10 kills and nine attack errors plagued them in what became the final set of the match.  

“I thought that the turning point for the Wake game was [Sam] Hoppes,” Kennedy said. “She was phenomenal on the right side, and she shut down the blocking. She was the spark plug that we needed to get things going in the right direction.” 

Following the two wins against squads that the Eagles had previously lost to, Kennedy remained optimistic about BC’s final performances and talked about the improvement of his roster throughout the season.  

“To be able to go back and beat two teams that you had lost to the first time … just shows the continual development of this group,” Kennedy said. “The team is getting better and we are better now than we ever have been, and I think that shows we are doing something right as a program.”

November 26, 2023