WALTHAM, Mass. – The 18th kill of the night for sophomore outside hitter Dani Milner (Plano, Texas/The Greenhill School) capped a match-ending 9-3 run and gave Bentley University a 3-2 non-conference victory over American International College in women's volleyball action Thursday night at the Dana Center.
The Falcons, after trailing 10-6, prevailed 15-13 in the decisive fifth set to record their third straight win and improve to 8-4 overall. Bentley took a 2-0 lead, 27-25 and 26-24, before the visiting Yellow Jackets (8-6) responded in the next two, 25-22 and 25-21.
Milner, who had half of her kills in the final two sets, hit .250 and also recorded nine digs and a career-best seven blocks. Bentley turned back 16 balls as a team with sophomore middle blocker Rachel Bruno (San Diego, Calif./Frances Parker School) also setting a career-best with eight.
Bentley also had three players achieve double-doubles, including senior co-captain Shannon Kelly (Hyde Park, N.Y./Franklin D. Roosevelt HS), who finished with 11 kills and a career-high 24 digs. Freshman outside hitter Kirsten Segaline (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain HS) provided 10 kills, including two during the closing run, and 16 digs, and sophomore setter Xio Lopp (Kalispell, Mont./Flathead HS) came off the bench for 33 assists, a career-best 18 digs and five blocks, also a personal high.
In the fifth set, Bentley found itself on the short end of a 10-6 score. The Falcons battled back to tie the score at 11 on a Segaline kill and eventually went up 13-11 on a Milner kill. AIC closed to within one twice, 13-12 and 14-13, but both times, the Falcons answered. Segaline made it 14-12 and Milner put down match-point.
Bentley, after facing set point, pulled out the win in the first with a 5-1 spurt that included kills by Kelly, Milner and senior McKenna Buck (Renton, Wash./Holy Names Acad.). In the second, after AIC tied the count at 24-24, a shared block by Lopp and Buck put the home team in front and a Jacket attack error produced a 2-0 Falcon lead.
For AIC, sophomore outside hitter Jana Potic (Belgrade, Serbia) provided 23 kills and 17 digs, senior Mercy Rivera (Canovanas, P.R.) made 38 digs and sophomore Dolores Kopren (Novi Sad, Serbia) recorded 59 assists.
Bentley is right back at home Friday night, hosting St. Michael's College at 6 pm. Before the match, a banner commemorating the late Sandy Hoffman's induction into the AVCA Hall of Fame will be unveiled.