Bruin Volleyball nipped by College of Idaho in Pool Play Opener

Michaela Gardner recorded a double-double in BU’s first pool play match against College of Idaho on Tuesday
Michaela Gardner recorded a double-double in BU’s first pool play match against College of Idaho on Tuesday

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa -- An inability to close sets strong cost the 21st-ranked Bellevue University volleyball team as they fell to #12 College of Idaho 3-1 on Tuesday evening in the first of three Pool Play matches in the NAIA National Tournament at the Tyson Events Center.

College of Idaho took the first set 25-22 before Bellevue rallied for a 25-22 win in the second to tie the match at one set apiece. In the pivotal third set C of I picked up a 25-22 win to grab a two sets to one lead in the match and put the match away in the fourth set with a 25-21 win.

With the loss Bellevue falls to 29-12 on the year while College of Idaho improves to 25-6 on the season with the victory. The match was the second of the season between the Bruins and Coyotes, after College of Idaho defeated BU back on Aug. 26 by a score of 3-1 (22-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-15).

Bellevue is playing at the Tournament Final Site for the second-straight season.

Bellevue was led offensively by Michaela Gardner's 11 kills while Shayla Scanlan joined her in double figures with 10 kills of her own. Maddie Squiers picked up her team-leading 20th double-double finishing with 40 assists and 20 digs on the evening.

Taylor Holz led the Bruin defensive efforts with a match-best 29 digs. Carson and Lauren Colpitts added 18 and 15 digs to the defensive cause.

Ashley Pagan put away a match-high 21 kills for College of Idaho. She was joined in double-figures by Jackie Van Fleet, Taylor Alexander, and Alaina Slater with 16, 12, and 11 kills, respectively.

Kilee Lopez led three Yotes with 20-plus kills with 26 on the evening while Brenna Meehan (24) and Pagan (22) joined her.

The Bruins narrowly out-hit College of Idaho, .180-.177, on the evening but the Yotes both out-dug (109-105) BU and held a sizable 9-1 lead in service aces.

#12 College of Idaho 3, #21 Bellevue 1 (25-22, 22-25, 25-22, 25-21)

1st Set Hitting: BU .148 | CI .145

2nd Set Hitting: BU .125 | CI .053

3rd Set Hitting: BU .176 | CI .240

4th Set Hitting: BU .275 | CI .289

1st Set: College of Idaho 25, Bellevue 22

College of Idaho got off to a fast start, scoring the first seven points of the match forcing Bellevue to use an early timeout at 5-0 to try and stem the Yotes momentum. BU battled back to pull within a point at 11-10 but could never fully recover from C of I's big early lead and dropped the first set 25-22.

2nd Set: Bellevue 25, College of Idaho 22

The second set got off to a decidedly more favorable start with Bellevue leading for the first time in the match, 2-1. Neither team could get more than three points of separation until a 6-2 BU run turned a tie game into a 16-12 Bruin lead and causing the Coyotes to use a timeout. Out of that break the Bruins scored three points in a row forcing C of I to burn their final timeout of the set, trailing 19-12. From there College of Idaho went on a 10-4 run to pull within a point, 23-22, but a hitting error on set point gave BU the 25-22 win.

3rd Set: College of Idaho 25, Bellevue 22

Bellevue sprinted to a 4-0 lead in the third set to seize the early momentum. The Bruins built and 8-2 lead with the aid of several Yote miscues before C of I took a timeout. Bellevue saw their lead swell to as many as seven points, 11-4, before College of Idaho fought their way back into the game pulling to within two late in the set at 20-18 before BU took their final timeout. The Yotes closed the set on a 10-2 run to take the set 25-22.

4th Set: College of Idaho 25, Bellevue 21

In the fourth set, the teams began by trading points and keeping the set tight until College of Idaho went on a 3-0 mini-run to gain a little separation with a 13-11 lead. That lead, however, was short-lived as Bellevue responded with back-to-back points to tie the game. Three-straight points from the Coyotes saw them grab their largest lead of the set, 18-15, before Bellevue took their first timeout. The Yotes stayed strong out of the break pushing their lead to 20-16. BU closed to within a point late but, ultimately, fell 25-21.

Bellevue resumes Pool Play tomorrow against Northwestern at 6 p.m. before taking on Lourdes on Thursday at 6 p.m. to close out Pool Play. The top two teams in each group advance to the single-elimination Round of 16.

Pool E Standings:

Northwestern   1-0
College of Idaho   1-0
Bellevue   0-1
Lourdes   0-1