The Salt Lake Community College volleyball team lost Bailee Kendall in the first set and couldn’t recover to take the game. Kendall appeared briefly in the second set, but it wasn’t enough to inspire the team to the win.
Kendall remained on the sideline. Hopefully, she will be ready to go on Saturday, Nov. 23. SLCC will face the 5-seed Hillsborough in the consolation round at 4:30 p.m. for a shot at third place.
The Bruins did fight bravely taking Tyler Junior College to 5 sets (25 – 17, 23 – 25, 25 – 20, 14 – 25, 12 – 15) in the only 5 set game of the tournament according to the broadcaster.
The Bruins were never really threatened in the set as they took a 15 to 7 lead on a Carol Grasso ace.
Unfortunately, the next play, Kendall went up high and set down a shot for a kill, but she came down and ended up on her back. She attempted to stay in the game, but on the next play, the head referee stopped play when Kendall went down again.
With Kendall on the sideline, Grasso served long, and Hannah Wade had a shot block. Jillian Campbell had a kill in the center, but Tyler returned the favor. Janessa Koelliker was stuffed on the next play, and Tyler found another hole in the Bruin defense.
At 17 to 12, Wade and Koelliker got together on a block, and a long hit by Tyler made it 19 to 12. Even with the injury to Kendall, SLCC played a practically perfect set. Mariana Pilon grabbed the final point on a kill – the score 25 to 17.
At 14 to 13, Grasso got tired of seeing the other team score points and decided to put some space between the two teams. Grasso rose up for a powerful kill asserting the Bruin dominance for the next 5 points that included three errors by Tyler.
After the Tyler timeout, Koelliker hit a kill to make it 20 to 13. That is when things went south for the Bruins. The only points that SLCC would score until the tie at 22 would be on Tyler errors. Tyler controlled the game with defense as they blocked Grasso, Pilon, and whoever else was trying to kill it at the net.
At 22 all, Grasso got stuffed again at the net. She killed it on the next play to tie the score at 23, but Indigo Allen couldn’t get to the ball in the next play. The set ended with a long hit by Grasso (23 – 25).
The teams played evenly through 16 points. After an error by Tyler, Grasso had a kill into the center of the court and then had another kill down the line. With the score 19 to 16, Tyler called a timeout.
Out of the timeout, Tyler overpowered the Bruin defense, but Grasso came back with a dink at the next point. Tyler took the next point on a kill, but Campbell won a joust at the net to make it 21 to 18.
Tyler had another kill, and Grasso had an answer. However, on the next play, the Bruins defense got caught with the ball out on it.
With the score 22 to 20, Campbell had a kill, Koelliker bounced a kill off a Tyler player, and Pilon ended the set with a kill off the defense (25 – 20).
The Bruins were dismantled in this set. Tyler hit every serve at Grasso, and Grasso had a tough time handling them. If there is a weakness in her game, it must be on the reception of serve, and Tyler exploited it.
With the score 3 to 14, the Bruins called a timeout. The Bruins would never get closer than 10. They did stave off set point twice, but the set ended on a kill by Tyler (14 – 25).
The teams went back and forth with the scored tied at 12. (Set five goes to the first team to score 15 and win by two.)
Tyler scored a kill. They hit the serve toward Grasso as they had been doing for the last couple of sets, and Grasso couldn’t get to it. The ace gave Tyler a 2 point lead at 12 to 14. On the next serve, Grasso received, was set up for the spike, and hit the ball into the net. Tyler wins the set at 12 to 15. That was the game.
If Kendall is unable to go against Hillsborough, the Bruins will have a tough time replacing her. Coach Sue Dulaney will have to change up the game plan to help take the pressure off Grasso, especially if Hillsborough decides to target Grasso like she was in this game.
Koelliker and Campbell could help with their inside games, but Baylie Henrie will have to dig and set better than she did in this game.
The Bruins still have the opportunity to take home third place.