With the end of a tough season in sight, Boston College volleyball faced a tall order over the Thanksgiving break as it hosted two of the ACC’s best for the team’s final two games. After falling 3–1 to Louisville (24–6) on Wednesday, the Eagles (7–23) went on to lose their regular season finale in Power Gym to rival Notre Dame (22–9).
With Thursday off for the holiday, it was a quick turnaround for the Eagles with rival Notre Dame traveling to Chestnut Hill for a Black Friday season closer.
It was apparent just how bad each team wanted the win Friday, trading scores with six lead changes through the early points of the set. Notre Dame claimed the advantage mid-set before clutch kills from Amaka Chukwujekwu and Sol Calvete nearly leveled the game, with the Eagles down one. But the Irish wouldn’t be denied, pulling out a clutch block to win the opening set 25-23.
The second set opened with a Notre Dame ace that would would ignite yet another back-and-forth struggle, seeing the game tied at four and 12 thanks to timely kills by Cat Balido and McKenna Goss, respectively. The Irish responded with three straight points of their own, but BC never lost steam and evened the score again at 21 thanks to another Goss kill. Despite gaining a 23-22 advantage late in the set, three strong kills by the Irish ended the set 25-23 in Notre Dame’s favor.
Although hard-fought, an early seven-point run by the Irish in the third set posed a challenge that the Eagles couldn’t overcome. Although Goss and Lynn Braakhuis, for her second straight game, recorded double-doubles, the Irish shut out the Eagles 3-0 to cap off Boston College’s season.
With Louisville in town on Wednesday, it wasn’t surprising when BC’s midweek game turned into a contest of runs. Taking an early 7–3 lead in the first set, a determined Louisville squad refused to relinquish the advantage. Despite cutting the lead to only two points on several occasions, the Eagles couldn’t stop the Cardinal’s onslaught, recording 5 kills in their last six points to put the first set away, 25-20.
Always competing, the Eagles came out in the second set with their noses to the grindstone. Trading the lead several times in the early goings of the set, four kills from Braakhuis would help keep the Eagles at pace with the Cardinals. But another mid-game run would give the Cardinals a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. In spite of a late BC rally, Louisville would win the pivotal second set, 25-21.
Backs against the wall, the Eagles would thrive under the pressure. In the match set, BC jumped out to an early 3-0 lead that would culminate in an 11-1 run to begin the set. It was the Eagles’ turn to ride a lead built on six kills between Braakhuis and Chukwujekwu. Sitting comfortably with a 20-8 advantage, the Eagles let their guard slip as Molly Sauer served 12 straight points, including two aces, to bring the Cardinals back and level the game at 20 apiece. Trading points at the end, kills by Goss and Balido would ice the 25-23 set victory for the Eagles.
Beginning the fourth set with a deficit, the Eagles fought to tie it at 12 points apiece. Despite Jane DeJarld and Braakhuis both notching double-doubles, Louisville’s firepower proved too much for BC to stymie and the Cardinals claimed the final set, 25-20, to win the match, 3-1.
Although the Eagles struggled in ACC play throughout what was an underwhelming season, the future is looking up for a young Boston College squad that is only losing two players to graduation this coming offseason.
Featured Image by Tiger Tao / Heights Staff