Bryan splits with Mobile and Faulkner in Saturday Action
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The second day of the Faulkner University Invitational was no easy lineup, as the Bryan College volleyball team faced-off with some of the best the Southern States Athletic Conference has to offer, including a University of Mobile (Ala.) group that are receiving votes in the most recent NAIA Coaches’ Top-25 Poll and picked to win the SSAC championship this season, in addition to Faulkner University who are projected to finish third in the SSAC while having their home crowd back them in the tournament. The Lions split in opening action on Friday when they easily cruised past Brewton-Parker College (Ga.) in three quick sets before going toe-to-toe with William Carey University (Miss.) and coming up just shy to the Crusaders who are ranked second in the SSAC.
Saturday began for Bryan with a 12pm tipoff against the Mobile Rams, and the Lion’s freshmen attackers started where the left off the day before with the duo of Rebecca Camacho and Paige Randolph matching each other with nine kills apiece to lead the team. While Randolph collected a .350 attack percentage, Camacho had the highest with a .421 average. Trailing was Jessi Towe with six kills, followed by Anna Owens with three, Janie Smith with two, and Jennifer Keck with one. While Mobile outkilled Bryan 40-30, the Lions forced the high-caliber team to a mere .185 average. Keck was the team’s assists leader, recording 22 of the team’s 23. Owens was even with Macenzie Krause for the team’s high in digs, as each scooped up 13 apiece. Keck also reached double-digit digs totaling 10. While Randolph was a force on the offensive end, she aided defensively with seven digs. Smith led the team in blocks, ending with one solo block and one block assist. Bryan’s effort led to a close battle with Mobile, but the Rams escaped in three sets 25-19, 25-19, and 25-21.
An ace by Mobile capped a 5-1 run to start the opening set, but Bryan used a kill from Smith, kill by Owens, and pressured the Rams into four errors that placed the Lions in the lead 7-6. The score would be tied at 7’s, 8’s, and 9’s before Mobile slowly built some separation. Five straight points for the Rams allowed them to charge ahead 14-9. Towe tried to provide a spark with a few kills high above the net, but Mobile wouldn’t budge, as they held on for a slim 18-14 advantage. Bryan rattled off five more points before the Rams captured the first set 25-19.
Midway through the second set, the Lions saw a trio of attack errors by the Rams, resulting in a 12-9 edge over Mobile. Bryan was able to defend their lead until a turning point at 13-13 when Mobile had back-to-back kills to regain the lead 15-13. The advantage was never surrendered back to the Lions, as the Rams went on top 2-0 with a 25-19 second set.
Frame three would be the closest Bryan would come to swiping a set away from Mobile. The score was leveled 12-12, and an ace sandwiched by a pair of kills gave the Rams a 15-12 lead. Despite the Lions not taking back over the lead, they remained on the heels of the Rams as Mobile was in front 20-17. Two service errors from Mobile, a kill by Camacho, and an ace by Owens grew Bryan’s total to 21, but the comeback came up just short with Mobile ending the set 25-21 and match 3-0.
The Lions wrapped up their time at the event with a quick three sets versus the Faulkner Eagles. Faulkner got off a to a quick start and never looked back, obtaining the sweep 25-13, 25-13, and 25-21. The Lions produced 21 kills with Owens locking in five for a team-high, followed by Camacho, Mariah Dunlop, and Randolph who tallied four, respectively. Keck led in assists with 13, while she tied Megan Martinez with eight digs, trailing Krause who was the dig’s leader corralling nine.
Bryan is coming away from the invitational 1-3 to begin their season, but the Lions are more prepared for what lies ahead, including the Milligan Mountain Madness that will take place at fellow Appalachian Athletic Conference member Milligan College (Tenn.) Aug. 31-Sept. 1. The next set of challengers for Bryan will be University of Cumberlands (Ky.) on Aug. 31 at 6pm, followed by University of Pikeville (Ky.) at 8pm. On the next day, the Lions meet up with Asbury University (Ky.) at 9am and Midway University (Ky.) at 3pm.
For a complete look at the 2018 Bryan Volleyball schedule, click here.