The Bryant and Stratton College volleyball team won 3 matches against great competition over the weekend at the Joliet Invite but came up short in the championship match finishing in 2nd place in the tournament.
The Bobcats (7-5) picked up 3-2 wins over Lake Michigan College and Kaskaskia College on Saturday. Sunday began with a dominating 3-0 win over Lincoln Trail College to put the team into the championship match against the 15th-ranked team in the country (DII), Glen Oaks Community College.
BSC took Glen Oaks to 5 sets but falls short of the championship. Despite the loss, head coach Heather Curley is incredibly proud of her team's performance over the weekend.
"I think it was a huge accomplishment for our program," Curley said. "When we played Kaskaskia, they were the number one seed in the tournament. I think beating them created a name for us right off the bat because we came in as the eight seed so I think that is a huge accomplishment for the program as a whole."
This event marked the third weekend this season where the Bobcats have participated in a multi-team event and after going 2-2 in the first two such events, they go 3-1 in Joliet. This is also the first true tournament the team has played in where picking up wins creates tougher competition. Scheduling such a tough early-season schedule is by design according to Curley.
"I heavy loaded the schedule with tough competition and nationally ranked teams to prepare us because when we get to regional play, while it won't be a cake walk, I feel like we are over-prepared now for region matches. And if the region coaches are paying attention, they know that we are a team that they have to prepare for and watch out for."
Over the course of the 4 matches the outside hitting duo of Angelie Rivera and Mackenzie Mainka come up big. Rivera had 54 kills while Mainka added 47. Libero Gabby Lopez had 98 digs while the team overall collected 311 digs over the weekend.
"One of the other coaches told me that we were the best defensive team he has ever faced," Curley said. "We wouldn't give up. We would not die. Balls never hit the floor and a lot of that is because of our Libero Gabby (Lopez). She's just a machine. She's amazing. I don't know if there is another Libero in the region that could top her."
Middle Blocker and team captain Ashley Weimann added eight blocks.
"This weekend was a huge accomplishment for us as a program. It's been awhile since we've clicked this well and played together as a team but this weekend, everything came together," Weimann said. "Everyone was positive and boosting each other up on and off the court and it really showed. I'm proud of this team and am excited for the rest of the season. It's only the beginning, but we have some high expectations, so we still have a lot of work ahead of us."
Defensive Specialist Zoey Mohring collects eight aces and setter Amanda Vega records 101 assists.
The Bobcats have a quick turn-around as they will head west to face Madison College on Tuesday evening. The match is scheduled to start at 6pm.