Bobcats Grasp Lead After First Set, Battle Throughout in 3-1 Loss to Bryant

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SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The Quinnipiac women's volleyball team posted a first set victory but couldn't hold on as Bryant took down the Bobcats, 3-1 (25-21, 23-25, 21-25, 19-25) on Wednesday night at Chace Athletic Center. Freshman outside hitter Chandler Thornton's (Arlington, Texas) career-high 14 kills wasn't the only bright spot for Quinnipiac as sophomore setter Brittanie Robinson (Fresno, Calif.) continued her hot streak with a double-double (29 assists, 10 digs) and junior libero Logan Riker (Bowling Green, Ohio) notched her fourth straight double-digit dig outing with 18 on Wednesday. The loss drops Quinnipiac to 1-16 (0-8 NEC) while the Bulldogs come away with the victory and improve to 9-15 (3-5 NEC).

The first set favored the Bulldogs early as they reeled off five straight points to induce a Quinnipiac timeout with the score 10-8 in favor of Bryant. Coming out the timeout however, Quinnipiac seized control with a 6-0 run of their own including a pair of Thornton kills and a couple service aces from sophomore outside hitter Tanner Celestin (Norco, Calif.) Bryant fought back and close the lead to one at 17-16 before the Bobcat's serve again carried them to a 4-0 run with a pair of service aces from sophomore outside hitter Tierra Allen (Sumter, S.C.) They prevented any Bryant run to close the gap and would seal the first set victory with a resounding Thornton kill and a 25-21 win.

Quinnipiac carried that momentum into the second set as they were aided by a pair of blocks from Allen and junior middle hitter Bonnie Conklin (Plano, Texas) all on Robinson's serve to take an early 7-2 advantage. The lead closed to three points but the Bobcats would hold the lead at 12-9 before the Bulldogs seized control. They won four straight points to take the lead but Quinnipiac didn't go away as they won six of the next eight points to regain the three-point lead at 19-16. Thornton did her best to keep the Bobcats close down the stretch with a pair of kills but Bryant would gain the lead and wouldn't relinquish, winning the second set, 25-23.     

Once again the Bobcats came out swinging to start the third set as they received three consecutive kills from Thornton and Riker notched a pair of service aces as they built a 10-6 lead. Bryant was not fazed as they claimed 10 of the next 12 points including a stretch of seven in-a-row to take a 16-12 advantage. Once again Robinson's serve brought the Bobcats back in the game as they would take a 17-16 lead on five straight points including an ace from the sophomore setter. The Bulldogs again took control in the closing points to seal the victory at 25-21.

The fourth and final set played out much like the previous three with the Bobcats taking command early on the back of Celestin's serve as the sophomore tallied another two service aces and Quinnipiac claimed the 6-4 lead. The Bobcats held the advantage as late as 18-17 before the Bulldogs rattled off seven of the last eight points to finish off the match with a 25-19 victory.

The Bulldogs dominated the Bobcats in kills, 59-32, and held a .178 hitting percentage compared to Quinnipiac's .027 percentage. The game however played out quite evenly as the Bobcat defense induced 30 Bulldog errors and went toe-to-toe in digs as they compiled 66 compared to 75 for Bryant. The Bobcats also had a great service game with nine aces and registered 14 total blocks, both bested Bryant's output.

Bryant had three players in double digits in kills with Alexandria Clyburn and Claire Van Dyk sharing the top spot with 12 each and Kendall Gaffney also recorded 10 on the evening to go along with 18 digs for a double-double. Elena Lohr tallied a game-high 22 digs as well for Bryant.

Quinnipiac was led by Thornton whose career-high 14 kills bested her previous high mark of 13 against Providence on Sept. 14. She also finished with eight digs in defeat. Robinson's double-double is the fourth for Quinnipiac on the season and the first since their 3-2 victory over Providence where three players all recorded double-doubles. Her 29 assists gives her three straight games of at least 27 in a match. Celestin had a great all-around game with eight kills, six digs, and four service aces (the most of any Bobcat in a match this season). Conklin also compiled a game-high five blocks to go along with seven kills. The program's all-time leader in career digs, Riker continued her impressive play of late, with 18 digs on Wednesday she is averaging 15 per-match over her last four games. Allen also had one of her best games of the season with 14 digs.

The Bobcats will have a quick turnaround as they welcome Fairleigh Dickinson to Burt Kahn Court on Saturday and LIU Brooklyn on Sunday with each match beginning at 1 p.m.

Contact: Maxx McNall; maxx.mcnall@quinnipiac.edu