Marietta, Ga. – Mid-South Conference opponent, Life University, hosted the Bryan College Lions and Canada’s southernmost university, the University of Windsor, in volleyball tri-match action Thursday evening. The Lions began the evening in a long five-set battle with the Windsor Lancers, but Bryan come up just short as Windsor took the win 25-21, 21-25, 25-16, 23-25, 15-10. Bryan looked to rebound in a late matchup against the Running Eagles of Life, but the host team came away victorious with a sweep 25-22, 25-19, 25-15. The Lions dropped their overall record to 14-10, while the Lancers moved to 3-8 and Running Eagles to 16-9.
Down 10-12 in the opening set versus Windsor, Bryan rallied for a 5-0 run to earn a 15-12 advantage. The Lions continued to control the lead until the Lancers managed to slowly chip away and tie the set at 19-19. A kill by Paige Lawson provided an answer by Bryan, but Windsor countered with a kill to make it 20-20. The next point was awarded to the Lancers after another kill, and their lead wouldn’t be surrendered as they sealed a 25-21 first set win to go ahead 1-0 in the match.
Neither team truly took control in the second set as both teams saw a total of 14 ties and seven lead changes. The largest lead of the set was four points by Bryan. After being at an even 10-10, Windsor worked their way to a 14-11 lead. The advantage for the Lancers was short lived as the Lions pieced together 6-2 run to reclaim the lead, 17-16. Both sides were unable to create any separation until a kill by Mariah Dunlop, kill by Hannah Smith, ace by Veronica Salas, and a set ending attack error by Windsor turned a 21-21 tie into a 25-21 second set victory for Bryan, leveling the match at 1-1.
The third set was all Windsor as they jumped ahead with a comfortable 10-3 lead, never looking back as they built their lead to double-digits. The Lancers claimed a 2-1 lead in the match, taking the third set 25-16.
An 11-11 tie is how another close set unfolded in the fourth as each team swapped points until leveled at 18-18. Salas assisted Lawson for the kill, which provided the Lions with a 19-18 lead that wouldn’t be handed over for the duration of the set. The Lancers cut the deficit to one at 24-23, but a combined effort from Abby Joiner and Rachel Mosley for the block ended any hope of a comeback by Windsor as Bryan evened the match at 2-2 with a 25-23 fourth set win.
In a deciding fifth set, the Lions fell behind 7-3 and couldn’t regain composure as the Lancers ended the set 15-10 and match 3-2.
Windsor outkilled Bryan 60-49 and hit a .157 attack percentage to the Lions’ .114. The Lancers totaled seven blocks, while the Lions finished with six. Smith led the attack for Bryan with 14 kills, and Lawson was the only other one to finished in double-digits with 10 kills. Salas recorded a team-high 20 assists, followed by Dunlop with 18 assists. Salas and Joiner both served up two aces apiece. Rymer led all players in digs with 33, Eryn Walker trailed with 15, and Salas collected 13. Mosley was dangerous defensively at the net with one solo block and four block assists.
Bryan struggled early in the match against Life, and the Running Eagles ran away with a three-set sweep of the Lions. Bryan showed intensity in the opening set as they remained close but were outlasted 25-22. As the sets went on, the Lions had a tough time staying poised as they let the second set slip away 25-19 and final set 25-15.
Despite a notable .230 attack percentage by Bryan, the Lions only registered 28 kills to Windsor’s .419 percentage and 49 kills. Lawson racked up nine kills to lead the Lions, and Smith put away six kills. Salas had 12 assists to lead in the assists column. Both Salas and Rachel Lyons finished with a team-high five digs, respectively.
“We were faced with some adversity due to a different lineup and people playing different positions due to sickness and injury, but we managed to compete,” said Bryan Head Coach, Jessica Day. “The results weren’t what we wanted, but overall we did well.”
Bryan Volleyball is at home Saturday, Oct. 14, in Appalachian Athletic Conference action as they host Montreat College (N.C.) at 11am and Tennessee Wesleyan at 3pm.
For the full Bryan Lions Volleyball schedule, click here.