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Tournament foes prove no match for dominant volleyball team

Smith ’17, Stillwell ’19 make All-Tournament team as Bears win all but one set at CCSU invite

After a trip to the Southwest resulted in three losses in four matches, the volleyball team found much more success at the Central Connecticut State University Invitational this weekend.

The Bears (6-5) swept their way through the tournament, dropping only one set as they beat Holy Cross, CCSU and Hartford. Payton Smith ’17 was named tournament MVP after registering 37 kills in only 10 sets.

Sabrina Stillwell ’19 continued her breakout rookie season with 31 kills, and she and Smith were both named to the All-Tournament team.

Though the score in sets may not have reflected it, the Bears’ opening matchup against the Crusaders (3-9) Saturday was perhaps their most competitive. Bruno led 18-13 before an 11-6 Holy Cross run tied the game at 24. But the Bears buckled down and claimed the next two points on a Stillwell kill and a Crusader attack error to win.

Holy Cross held early three-point leads in each of the next two sets, but Bruno pulled away to win both, 25-20 and 25-22, and sweep the match.

Stillwell led the team with 11 kills, while Smith posted an impressive .900 kill percentage.

Against the Blue Devils (8-5) Sunday, the Bears won the first two sets with ease, but an early 14-7 deficit doomed them to their only loss in the third. The fourth set was tightly contested, as the teams were tied at 13, 14, 15, 17, 18 and 22 points, but Bruno won the game’s final three points to claim the victory. Smith and Stillwell led the way once again with 19 and 15 kills, respectively.

Bruno’s final matchup came against a Hartford (0-14) team that the Bears had already beaten in their season opener. As one might expect from the Hawks’ record, the games were not competitive.

In the teams’ first matchup, Bruno dominated to the tune of a 75-46 aggregate score over three sets. The Bears surpassed that Sunday, sweeping Hartford in three sets by a score of 75-37, including one 25-8 set. Contributing to the big win were Shirin Tooloee ’18 and Shannon Frost ’16, who ranked second and third on the team with seven and six kills, respectively.

Following a successful non-conference slate, the Bears will open league play Friday with a visit to 2014 Ivy co-champions Yale. After a fourth-place finish last year, Bruno will look to improve on its 7-7 record, which included two sweeps at the hands of the Elis.



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