SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The Bryant University volleyball team hosts Long Island on Wednesday, March 31 beginning at 2 p.m. to close out the regular season. The Bulldogs will honor their two seniors, Mackenzie Wild and Erika Ward, before the start of the match in a senior day ceremony.
Wednesday's doubleheader will determine the team that will meet with Sacred Heart in the NEC Championship on Saturday, April 3.
SCOUTING THE SHARKS
- LIU posts a 7-3 record in NEC play and enters Wednesday's match after achieving a clean sweep over Merrimack on Friday.
- The 2019 NEC Rookie of the Year, Karolina Nova remains one of LIU's biggest offensive threats. She not only leads her team but leads the NEC and ranks 11th nationally in kills per set (4.59).
- On the defensive front, junior Anastasia Scott is the team leader in digs and ranks ninth in the country with an average of 5.87.
- The Sharks hold multiple top marks in the conference including first in aces per set (1.79), assists per set (13.28), digs per set (18.85), hitting percentage (.215), kills per set (13.95), opp hitting percentage (.155), and team service aces (70).
BULLDOGS NOTES AND NOTABLES
- The top two teams in the NEC will meet in the conference championship game with Sacred Heart on April 3. LIU sits in second place in front of Bryant who sits at third. Wednesday's doubleheader will be a battle for the final playoff spot. The Sharks hold a higher winning percentage over the Bulldogs as they played two extra games when they swept St. Francis Brooklyn to open the 2021 season. The Terriers opted out of the season before the Bulldogs had a chance to compete.
- The Bulldogs are 5-3 in conference play after splitting with Central Connecticut last week. Both Fabiana Castro and Erika Ward earned NEC Player of the Week honors for their efforts in the series.
- Castro earned Rookie of the Week honors after recording 10 kills, eight digs, two service aces, and one assist in match one against the Blue Devils. In the second match, Castro posted five kills, 13 digs, and one ace.
- Ward shared Co-Defensive Player of the Week with CCSU's Ashlyn Eisenga. The senior combined for 57 digs, including a career-best of 34 in the first match of the series to go along with four assists. In the second match, Ward posted 23 digs and two assists. Ward ranks third in the NEC and 30th in the country with 5.24 digs per set and she is the first Bulldog in Bryant's Division I history to earn back-to-back NEC Defensive Player of the Week honors.
- Sophomore Alysa Wright continues to be the NEC leader in blocks per set with 1.39. Wright has posted five or more blocks in the last five matches for the Black and Gold.
- Junior Caroline Kennedy has also aided in Bryant's blocking efforts this season. In the last four matches, Kennedy combined for 20 blocks, including a career-high of eight at Fairleigh Dickinson.
- Sophomore Mia Cergol notched a career-best 48 assists in Bryant's five-set match with CCSU. She ranks second in the conference with 9.70 assists per set.
- Emma McGovern leads the team's offense with 101 kills, averaging 3.37 kills per set.