By D.F. Pendrys
BRIDGEPORT, CT – ECC leading Daemen downed the Bridgeport Purple Knights volleyball contingent Sunday afternoon in a sweep. Set 1 started out fairly even but Daemen’s Vanessa Kuliga sent a kill off a defender’s hands, and her teammate Caitlin Meyer tapped an attack over the front line. Sam Logan then came up with a block and Kuliga and Meyer shared one for a 6-12 lead. From then on Bridgeport was just giving pursuit but the Wildcats had built a lead they would not relinquish and the set wrapped up with Daemen victorious at 14-25.
Set 2 began strongly for Daemen and they didn’t look back as Meyer picked up the first kill of the set, Logan served up an Ace, and an attack error by UB made it 0-3. UB picked up a point on an error by their opponent’s but a Purple Knight attack out of bounds made it 1-4. Maggie Burns struck for Daemen, though Emily Burford responded for Bridgeport. Burns again came up with a kill as did he teammate Loren Alberts. The score was 2-7 and the visitor’s again had a lead they would not relinquish. UB gave chase and did get within 4, but Daemen extended their advantage again to take the set 16-25.
Bridgeport kept close to Daemen in the early stages of set 3 but with the score 7-8 in favor of Daemen, the Wildcats shut the door again. Meyer had a cross court kill, followed by a huge wallop from Kuliga. An attack error out of bounds by Bridgeport followed, and Meyer launched a kill down the line for a 7-12 lead. UB gained 2 points back in rapid succession but Kuliga had another kill. The Purple Knights got within 3 again thanks to Emily Burford but a serve out of bounds that followed and a kill by Alberts reestablished a five point lead, and another UB attack out of bounds made it 12-17. As Daemen marched towards a win they got to 12-22, but Bridgeport went on a run benefiting from two errors from Daemen, a kill from Jaden Drollinger and two more errors from the Wildcats to cut the lead to 17-22. Alberts stopped the bleeding with a kill and Jasmine Brundage served an Ace up. UB gained one more point but Olivia Alessi ended the set at a score of 18-25 and with it the game.
Coach Gary Mullin’s Bridgeport team is now 8-7 (3-2 ECC) and the Daemen squad of Stephanie Albano is 12-6 5-0 ECC).
Kuliga and Meyer led the Wildcats with 10 kills a piece. Burns and Logan each had 8 as well. Kuliga hit for .625 while Meyer hit for .450. Alessi had 38 Assists on the day. Burns served up 2 Aces while Alessi, Logan, Kuliga, Brundage, and Meyer all had 1. Alessi and Brundage each had 13 digs. Meyer had a solo block and shared 4, Logan had 1 solo block and shared 2, Kuliga had 5 shared blocks, and Alberts shared 2 as well.
Burford and Melanie Smith led Bridgeport with 6 kills apiece. Drollinger had 21 Assists and 12 Digs. Paola Hernandez, Burford, Madison Jongsma, and Amanda Keller had 1 shared block each.