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After uneven start, volleyball heads west

Bears top Hartford, Sacred Heart in Fairfield, fall to Bucknell before loss to rival Friars

While many students made their return trips to College Hill, the volleyball team was en route to Fairfield, Connecticut to participate in the Sacred Heart University Hampton Inn Invitational. With the return of many of the squad’s key players and the addition of five impressive first-years, the Bears (2-2) hope to continue their trend of improvement.

Last season, Bruno garnered a 12-14 overall record after facing several tough opponents throughout the year. In Ivy League play, Bruno broke even and finished with a 7-7 record, putting the team in fourth place in the conference. Bruno will hope to remain in the top half of the Ancient Eight this season, but before it commences conference play, it will participate in three invitationals across the country.

The Bears found success at their first tournament of the season. On the first day of play, Bruno split its matches. While the Bears swept Hartford (0-7), they ultimately fell to Bucknell (4-1) despite an impressive rally in the third and fourth sets after dropping the first two.

The following day, the team faced off against the hosting Pioneers (2-3). While the home team took an early 13-8 lead, the Bears were eventually able to rally and claim the first set en route to a 3-0 match win. The recovery was supported largely in part by the efforts of Sabrina Stillwell ’19. The rookie recorded four kills in the first set alone and added another eight in the remaining sets for a match-high 12 kills. Stillwell was one of Bruno’s two All-Tournament Team selections. Solid performances from Payton Smith ’17 earned the middle blocker an All-Tournament team selection as well.

After returning to the Ocean State, the Bears squeezed in another game before the start of the semester against Providence (4-4) Tuesday night. Bruno put up a fight against its crosstown rival, forcing two sets to be decided by extra points. But the Bears were unable to claim a single set and dropped the contest against the host.

This weekend, the Bears will head to Las Cruces, New Mexico to attend the NMSU-UTEP Borderland Classic. Games against hosting University of Texas El Paso (2-3) and New Mexico State (5-2) are scheduled for Friday, while matches against Robert Morris (5-2) and the University of Denver (6-1) will take place Saturday.


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