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Bears get Friar'd up at home opener

The women's volleyball team topped Providence College (1-13) in straight sets during the squad's home opener Wednesday, improving to .500 on the season.

"It was nice to beat the PCs because they're our intercity rivals," said Alexandra Rieckhoff '14. "We get pretty fired up for our home games, and we always try to get our best friends out there in the stands."

Wednesday's showdown came after two tough match-ups for the Bears (3-3) at the Yale Invitational Sept. 7 and 8. The squad fell to both Northwestern University (8-0) and Villanova University  in straight sets.

Nonetheless, Head Coach Diane Short said she was happy her team rose to the competition's level and used the tournament as a learning experience.

"We played some top teams, and we competed well against them," she said. "We can really hit against any team we play, which is one area we really improved on."

Rieckhoff noted that while the Bears were clearly outmatched in height at the Yale Invitational, she was impressed by how competitive they remained.

 "(Northwestern and Villanova have) big, tall girls," Rieckhoff said. "In the Ivy League, we're just smaller teams than they are. Playing Northwestern and hanging in there, even though we lost, was actually a big confidence boost for us because they got some votes for Top-25 in the nation."

With the momentum from their victory over the Friars behind them, the Bears look to improve their record as they head to Southern California for the Fullerton Classic Sept. 14 and 15. 

With 16 of the 20 girls on the Bears' roster hailing from California, the trip will be a sort of homecoming. The girls played a part in planning the trip and helped to raise money for travel and accommodations.

"We pushed really hard for this one," Rieckhoff said. "We fundraised as a team, and we're excited because we have friends (that we'll compete against)."

Venturing westward may have an extra benefit for the team: a boost in supporters.

"Most of the team is from California, so it's like going back home for them," Short said. "We'll actually probably get more fans out there just because of family, friends and alums."


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