BARBOURVILLE, Ky. – Appalachian Athletic Conference North Division leader Union College (Ky.) proved too much for Bryan College volleyball on Tuesday evening when the Lions made the trip up to face-off with the Bulldogs. Union came out on top in the conference match 3-0. The opening frame saw the Bulldogs gain an early lead and never surrender it, but the Lions clawed their way back to make it close. Union managed to escape 25-20 to go up 1-0. The second was also tight until midway through when the Bulldogs broke off the leash and chased down a 25-15 win.
Bryan pieced together a promising start to set number three, but the momentum was already in Union’s favor, as the home team came back and edged out the Lions 25-16 for the AAC sweep.
Since beginning conference play, the Bulldogs have been on a roll and extended their winning-streak to four after defeating the Lions. Union improved to 7-10 overall and 5-0 in the AAC while Bryan still owns a notable 9-5 overall record and 4-2 mark against conference challengers.
A series of errors in the start of the first set put the Lions in a quick eight-point hole, trailing the Bulldogs 2-10. The comfortable separation by Union helped them easily cruise to a double-digit lead at 20-10. Finally, Bryan began to connect on their attack and made play difficult defensively, which saw the Lions rally for a 4-0 run to bring them within four at 24-20. Unfortunately, the surge came too late, as the Bulldogs sealed the set 25-20.
Numerous ties unfolded in set number two until Anna Owens took a pass from Jennifer Keck and rained down a kill to provide Bryan with a 5-4 lead. Union committed a ball-handling error, and Macenzie Krause served an ace to make it a 7-4 difference. Despite battling for the narrow lead, Bryan watched as Union responded with a game-changing 6-0 run where the Bulldogs stole the lead and never looked back for the 25-15 decision.
Once again, the Lions saw a similar scenario take place in the final set after leading 4-1 and later at 7-3. The Bulldogs answered back with a 5-1 run that leveled the count at 8’s. Owens notched another kill that tied the score 9-9, but three consecutive points by Union was all the home team needed to climb ahead and remain in the lead. The gap grew to as much as 10 at 24-14. The Lions tacked on two more points when the Bulldogs had a service error and Gigi Ford delivered a kill, but a service error by Bryan wrapped up the event with the Bulldogs victorious 25-16.
Leading in the attack column for Bryan was Owens with a team-high seven kills, trailed by Paige Randolph with four and the duo of the Ford and Janie Smith with three apiece. Jaleigh Rogan dealt a team-best 11 assists, followed by Keck’s six. Bryan’s pair of aces came from Krause and Hayli McLean. Rheagan Kean’s 21 digs were a team-high while Rogan aided with seven and Krause produced six.
The visit to Union marked the first of six road matches with non-conference Martin Methodist University (Tenn.) up next for Bryan volleyball. The Lions are set to tip-off against the Southern States Athletic Conference opponent on Thursday, Sept. 19 at 7:30pm. The RedHawks are 5-4 overall, 1-0 in the SSAC, and have won four matches in a row.
To view the full 2019 volleyball schedule, click here.