After a brief stint back in the Ocean State, the volleyball team hit the road again this weekend to attend the NMSU-UTEP Borderland Classic in El Paso, Texas and Las Cruces, N.M. where Bruno (3-5) fell to three of its opponents but managed to bounce back in the second day of tournament play to claim its sole victory over Robert Morris.
The Bears came out strong in their first contest of the tournament against UTEP (4-6). The night was full of career highs down the roster. Payton Smith ’17 and Sabrina Stillwell ’19 led the charge, and both recorded career-best performances, posting 20 and 19 kills, respectively, in the match. Bruno won the first and fourth sets in extra points but was unable to keep up with the Miners for the entirety of the game. Despite solid efforts, the Bears fell to the co-host in a 3-2 decision.
Later that evening, the team crossed the Texas-New Mexico border for its second match against New Mexico State. Bruno once again came out strong, claiming an 8-4 lead at the outset of the first set. But the Aggies (8-3) managed to capitalize on several errors by the Bears and went on a 10-2 run, stealing a lead that they would not relinquish for the rest of the set. Unfortunately for Bruno, New Mexico State hit its stride after taking the first set and went on to sweep the Bears.
The following day, the team faced off against Robert Morris and Denver. In their first game of the day, the Bears did not come out as strongly as they had in the previous games. Robert Morris took a 10-9 lead early in the first set, but an 8-1 run incited by two quick kills from Smith fueled Bruno’s comeback and re-energized the team. The Bears allowed the momentum to carry them through the rest of the first set and the entire second set. While the team hiccuped in the third set, which was decided by extra points, Bruno managed to sweep the Colonials and garner its lone win of the tournament.
Bruno faced off against the Pioneers in the final game of the Borderland Classic. The Bears held their own against the defending Summit League champions, as the first two sets of the game were each decided by a margin of five points. But Bruno was unable to respond to Denver’s late streaks and fell to the Pioneers in three sets.
This weekend, the Bears will not travel far, as the team is scheduled to attend the Central Connecticut State University Invitational. Bruno will face off against Holy Cross (2-7) and Hartford (0-10) in addition to hosting CCSU (6-4).