SAN MARCOS, Calif. – Seniors Dani Milner (Plano, Texas/The Greenhill School) and Rachel Bruno (San Diego, Calif./Francis Parker HS) combined for 20 kills and only one error in 41 swings, powering the Bentley University women's volleyball team to a 3-0 season-opening win over Saint Martin's College Friday afternoon in the Cougar Classic at the Cal State San Marcos Sport Center. The scores were 25-20, 25-17 and 25-23.
Bentley dropped its second match of the day, falling to the host Cougars in four sets with the scores 25-21, 27-25, 28-26 and 25-16. It was the third win of the season for Cal State San Marcos.
Milner, playing her first match in 53 weeks, hit .458 with a team-leading 12 kills in the victory over the Saints. Bruno, the Northeast-10 leader in hitting percentage the last two years, had eight kills and no errors in 17 attacks, a success rate of .471. She also provided four digs and two blocks in the match.
Bentley also had a pair of players turn in double-doubles, junior Kirsten Segaline (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain HS) and senior setter Xio Lopp (Kalispell, Mont./Flathead HS) provided ten kills and 14 digs and Lopp recorded 32 assists and ten digs.
Runs were key to the victory as coach Joey Pacis' squad wrapped up the first set by scoring 12 of the last 14 points. The Falcons had a 13-3 spurt in the second and closed with a 4-1 burst, and finished the match with a 6-3 run after Saint Martin's took a 20-19 lead.
The pivotal point in the CSSM match came after a kill and an ace by sophomore Shannon Ngo (San Rafael, Calif./Terra Linda HS) gave Bentley a 25-24 lead. Consecutive attack errors returned the lead to the Cougars and a kill by senior Olive Aquilar (Lake Forest, Ill.) put the home team up 2-0.
The Falcons stayed alive by taking the third set, 28-26. Segaline had six kills during the set and set point scored on a shared block by Ngo and Lopp.
CSSM seized control of the fourth with a 15-3 run that made it 18-8 and finished the match with a 7-2 spurt.
Segaline (15 kills, 11 digs) and freshman Ingrid Murphy (Cotuit, Mass./Barnstable HS) (11 kills, 18 digs) both turned in double-doubles for Bentley. The Falcons also received 14 kills and six blocks from Ngo, 45 assists from Lopp and 18 digs from freshman Jenna Giaquinto (Lighthouse Point, Fla./Cardinal Gibbons HS).
Aguilar led the 3-0 Cougars with 14 kills and six-two senior Maddy Newcombe (Running Springs, Calif.) hit .480 with 12 kills and five blocks.
The tournament continues Saturday with Bentley facing Western New Mexico at noon eastern and Eastern New Mexico at 4 pm.