Friday night at Allen Arena the Lady Bisons, second in the A-Sun, and Jacksonville, the third place team, met. The Lady Bisons held on to win 3-1 in four sets, winning set one 25-20, losing set two 25-23, winning set three 29-27 and closing out the match with a 27-25 set four win.
“This was a match that we expected to be a dogfight,” said Lady Bisons coach Brandon Rosenthal. “In set two we let it get away from us.
“Going back to the locker room we said we had to make a couple of adjustments. We couldn’t give them points and I felt like we did in set two with 11 hitting errors and four service errors."
Sophomore middle blocker Alex Kelly gave her teammates a pep talk during a time out in set four.
“I give a lot of credit to our players,” said Rosenthal. “Alex said in the huddle that we didn’t come this far and fight this hard just to go out and play a fifth set.
“You look at the speed of our team chasing down balls. You look at the grittiness of our play in the fourth set. I thought we did a phenomenal job towards the end of the match. In the past we just didn’t have that. It was great, great win and a total team effort.”
Three Lady Bisons finished with double-doubles in kills and digs. Kelly made a match-high 17 kills and added 18 digs. Middle blocker Katie Rose made 12 kills and was credited with 13 digs. Opposite Erin Pierce made 12 kills and added 11 digs along with a .323 hitting percentage.
Middle blocker Amy Trykowski made 11 kills and posted a .318 hitting percentage.
“I thought Amy did a great job at the end,” said Rosenthal. “She didn’t have a great match but down the end of the match she made some great plays. If you are going to take a great match or great plays at the right time I will take the great plays.”
The Lady Bisons held an 82-63 edge in digs. Libero Jessica Turner led the way with 20. Setter Jake Pease added 14.
“Hats off to our players for their phenomenal defense,” said Rosenthal. “Jake at the end played great defense. They put some rockets on her and she did a great job. I thought Katie Rose did a great job. Erin was real steady. And Jess Turner did a fantastic job toward the end.”
Rosenthal also praised the serving of setter Jenny Brekke and opposite Kaley Mohr.
“There was nobody I would have rather had serving at the end of the match than Jake,” said Rosenthal. “Her serves were exactly where we wanted them to be.”
Pease made 50 sets, eight more than Jacksonville made as a team.
“When we were struggling she got offensive-minded,” said Rosenthal. “She got aggressive with the ball. It took the focus off of some of our other players.”
Aldan Yeager made 13 kills and Abby Gruenbacher added 11 for Jacksonville. Shelly Walroth made a match-high 23 digs. Sara Bendorf was credited with 16.
The Lady Bisons are 14-9, 11-2 in the A-Sun. Jacksonville fell to 13-7, 8-4 in the conference.
Saturday afternoon at 3 in Allen Arena the Lady Bisons play North Florida.