The Briar Cliff women’s volleyball team battled a lenghy match against crosstown rival Morningside Wednesday evening and came out on top in a five-game thriller at the Newman Flanagan Center.
BC started hot in the first set. A triple block by Victoria Gonzalez, Marisol Ruiz and Grace Whitlaw forced a Morningside timeout with the Chargers up 9-5. The Cliff continued to extend the lead, going up 14-6 before the Mustangs started to close the gap, eventually coming within 24-20, but an attack error by Morningside ended the set.
Set number two could not have been more different for the Chargers as the home team allowed a 10-1 Mustang run to start the game. Although the team seemed to pick up its rhythm as the set went on, the Chargers could not overcome the early deficit and fell 25-17.
“Morningside is a great team,” said head coach Lindsey Weatherford. “We really struggled with their middles tonight, we will have to defend teams better with our blocking in the future.”
The third game was a nail-biter from start to finish, with neither team leading by more than two points until the 20-17 mark with the Cliff ahead on the scoreboard. Morningside pushed to gain those points back but BC took set three 25-21.
Morningside forced a fifth game with a 25-20 win in game number four.
The deciding game proved just as intense as the rest of the match as the teams went back-and-forth throughout and were tied eight times. Despite trailing 8-7 at the side change, the Chargers took a 9-8 lead they would not relinquish with an ace serve from Morgan Youngs. Morningside was able to tie the set at nine but the Cliff went on a 6-2 run to end the match.
Tyra Blue put down a career-high 15 kills in the match, including an outstanding seven kills in the third game, and took part in five blocks.
“Tyra gave us the spark we needed tonight,” said head coach Lindsey Weatherford. “In the third set she drove home kills at crucial moments to swing the momentum in our favor.”
Gonzalez (12), Analyse Stapleton (11) and Aubury Coleman (11) also had double-digit kills for the Blue and Gold. Delaney Meyer dished out 29 assists, one shy of a career high, while also leading the team in digs with 15.
“Delaney’s contributions on the court cannot be overstated,” added Weatherford. “She played great defense tonight and consistently puts our offense in the best position to score. Delaney is a true leader for us.”
Grace Hanno added 14 digs and Gonzalez had 12.
“Grace Hanno played very well tonight for us as well,” said Weatherford. “She touched a lot of balls and made great passes to assist our defense and generate some offense.”
Caitlin Makovicka led the Mustang offense with 19 kills. Callie Alberico dished out 32 assists and Kayla Harris had 20 digs.
The Chargers now look ahead to Saturday as they will host Mount Marty at the Newman Flanagan Center.
“Mount Marty is a team we cannot overlook,” noted Weatherford. “Their unconventional offense has a tendency to rattle us and we need to work to stay in control the whole match.”
Opening serve against the Lancers is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.