NEWARK, Del. – Senior co-captain Grace Conner (Santa Barbara, Calif./San Marcos HS) and sophomore Simone Silvera (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook HS) came up big during the decisive fifth set as the Bentley University women's volleyball team opened its season with a 3-2 win over Davis & Elkins College (W.V.) Friday night in the Wildcat Invitational at Wilmington University.
In their second match of the night, the Falcons were swept in three sets by Indiana University (Pa.), which improved to 5-1 on the year.
Bentley took the first two sets from D&E, 25-21 and 29-27, but the Lady Senators battled back in the next two, 25-23 and 25-14, to send the match to five. The Falcons closed out the opening set with an 8-4 spurt and recorded the final three points to pull out the second. That flurry included kills by freshman Jaci Buscher (Lakewood, Colo./Green Mountain HS) and sophomore Kelsey Buckner (San Marino, Calif./San Marino HS), and a set-ending attack error by D&E.
Bentley took control of the fifth set by scoring six straight points, turning an 8-7 deficit into a 13-8 lead. Conner, who had four kills in five swings in the set, had two during that run, and Silvera served a pair of aces.
Conner finished with 13 kills, a .400 hitting percentage and three blocks, and Buckner recorded a double-double in her 2012 debut, 11 kills and 17 digs. Silvera's line included four aces and three blocks, and Bentley also received a double-double from freshman setter Kyana Miller (San Diego, Calif./Canyon Crest Academy) (22 assists, 10 digs). Sophomore libero Lauren Colasanti (Northville, Mich./Northville HS) had a team-best 18 digs, and classmate Alex Tator (Los Angeles, Calif./Marlborough School) had 24 assists while sharing the setting duties with Miller.
After the lengthy opening match, Bentley dropped the IUP match by scores of 25-12, 25-11 and 26-14. The Falcons held a 21-17 in the third, but IUP regained control with five straight points and went on to complete the sweep.
Freshman Sarah Smiley (Worthington, Ohio) powered the Crimson Hawks with 13 kills and a .545 hitting percentage, and sophomore Lauren Hestor (State College, Pa.) served six aces.
The tournament continues on Saturday with Bentley taking on both Wilmington and West Chester University.