SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Bentley University women's volleyball, the number two-ranked team in the NCAA Division II East Region, suffered its first loss in more than 50 days as the Falcons were taken down in four sets by American International College in Northeast-10 Conference action Friday night at the Butova Gym. Scores were 25-23, 19-25, 25-23 and 25-13.
The loss ended the Falcons' 16-match winning streak and dropped the team to 21-5 overall, including 11-1 NE10. Bentley now leads the NE10 by one game over AIC (11-15, 9-2 NE10) and a game-and-a-half over Saint Anselm with two regular season matches to play.
The decisive fourth set was close for the first 17 serves with Bentley trailing the home team by a single point, 9-8. However, the red-hot Yellow Jackets (9-1 since Oct. 1) ran off ten straight points for a commanding 19-8 lead. Seven of the points came on kills, including three from freshman Mai-Lai Hernandez (Miami, Fla.).
In the opening set, Bentley led 21-18 before the Jackets closed by scoring seven of the final nine points. After winning the second, the Falcons were right there in the third set as well. It was tied at 20 before AIC scored five of the last eight to prevail by two.
Junior Andrea Serra (Toa Baja, P.R.) hit .346 with 23 kills and 22 digs to power AIC to the victory. Grad student Sarah Lowery (Chicago, Ill.) followed with 14 kills and 17 digs, and freshman setter Naomi Eckert (Toa Baja, P.R.), amassed 55 assists.
Bentley was led by senior middle hitter Rachel Bruno (San Diego, Calif./Francis Parker School), with ten kills and eight blocks. Junior Kirsten Segaline (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain HS) had a team-best 11 kills, and senior setter Xio Lopp (Kalispell, Mont./Flathead HS) finished with 37 assists, 18 digs, five kills and five blocks.
Bentley returns to action Thursday with a home match against New Haven.