BRYN MAWR, Pa. - The Bryn Mawr volleyball team was back in action in the Class of 1958 Gymnasium earlier Thursday night for another tough non-conference contest. On this night, the Owls faced off against Gwynedd Mercy, with both sides in search of a big win. The Owls put on a strong effort the whole way through, giving the Griffins fits at times throughout the match. Unfortunately, it was the visitors who came out on top in this one, as Gwynedd Mercy battled off furious Bryn Mawr comebacks in each set to claim a 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-20) win in the match. Nolan Julian had a very solid night as the primary setter, making 19 assists in the contest. Camille Baechler posted nine kills to pace the Owls offense. On the other side, Gwynedd Mercy was led by nine kills from Rainah Dunham in the match.
Bryn Mawr definitely had the better start in the opening set of tonight's contest, using kills from Sienna Burnett, Jessie Zong, and Camille Baechler to jump out to a 7-4 win. However, the Griffins battled back from that early deficit to take an 11-7 lead. Bryn Mawr stayed resilient, winning four of the next five points to climb back within one. Baechler started that run off with another kill, then the Griffins chipped into the effort by making three straight attack errors. Unfortunately, the Owls handed those points right back on three attack errors of their own, and ultimately Gwynedd Mercy stretched their lead in the set out to six points. The Owls made some great plays to try and stay in the set, with a kill by Delia Landers and another kill from Baechler drawing Bryn Mawr back within three points. However, the visitors hung on and closed out the frame with a kill by Cassie McCarney to win the set 25-19.
That first-set win seemed to invigorate Gwynedd Mercy, as they ambushed the Owls for three straight points to open the second set. However, Bryn Mawr stayed strong and battled through those early obstacles and ended up taking the lead themselves. A huge block from Baechler and Sienna Burnett sparked a 6-2 run, as each also notched a kill in that stretch to help put the Owls on top 9-7. The seesaw match continued into the middle of the set as the two sides traded the lead and ties back and forth for a long stretch. A kill from Nolan Julien ended up putting Bryn Mawr ahead 16-15 momentarily, but then it was the Griffins who put together a big run. The visitors won seven of the next eight points, vaulting them into a 22-17 and forcing an Owls timeout. Unfortunately, that would only momentarily slow the Gwynedd Mercy run, as the Griffins ultimately salted away the set by a score of 25-19 once again.
The Owls had their best start to a set with their efforts in the third frame. The two sides traded blows back and forth early on, but then Bryn Mawr won five of six points to jump out to their biggest lead in a set in the entire match. A few Griffins attack errors ignited that run, and then Camille Baechler put her stamp on the effort with two of her signature high-flying kills. That vaulted the Owls out front by a score of 9-5, but it was early enough in the set that it gave Gwynedd Mercy time to chip away, which they did. Over the middle of the set, the Griffins were able to battle back into the frame, and then a big 7-1 run put the visitors out front. The Owls were hurt be some untimely attack errors in that timeframe, and then kills from Rainah Dunham and Abreeanna Bisenius helped put the Griffins ahead 16-13. Bryn Mawr did not go down without a fight, as a Casandra Paiz service ace drew the Owls back within one. Later, two more Griffins errors and a big kill from Jessie Zong got Bryn Mawr back within two points at 20-22. However, the Griffins managed to win the final three points of the set and close out the match with the 25-20 win in the frame.
The Owls will keep the hard work going this week, and they'll look to gear up for their first Centennial Conference contest this weekend as part of a big tri-match. Bryn Mawr travels down to Baltimore for a contest against Johns Hopkins, a team that has gotten off to a very solid 5-2 start so far this season. The Owls will also face off against Goucher as part of that tri-match. The Gophers have not had an auspicious start to their 2017, but did earn a 3-0 win over Gwynedd Mercy in their most recent match. The Owls kick off their Saturday at 12 noon against the Blue Jays, then will return to the court at 2 PM to take on Goucher.