MIAMI SHORES, Fla. -- Barry University's volleyball team is off to the Eckerd College Classic Saturday.
The Bucs (3-1) will meet a Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras team that is beginning its season at the tournament. The Gallitos play Friday against Nova Southeastern and Bentley before meeting the Buccaneers on Saturday. First serve for the Bucs match with Rio Piedras is scheduled for 1:15 p.m Saturday. Follow via LIVE STATS or LIVE VIDEO.
At 5:45 p.m. Barry will meet Wilmington (1-3) to conclude its stay in St. Pete. The Wildcats dropped three matches at their opening tournament of the season last weekend before winning a mid-week match over Chestnut Hill prior to their trip to Florida.
Barry was effective serving in their first four matches, recording a Sunshine State Conference-high 37 aces on opening weekend, but the Bucs encountered a few roadblocks in their attack game after hitting .198 in the four matches. The bright spot was junior outside hitter Jayla Trombley's .421 and freshman middle blocker Ivana Didanovic's .304 percentages.
With multiple options on offense, the Buccaneers are off to a better start, albeit a difference in strength of schedule, than they were a year ago at this point. With better athleticism in the back row, the Buccaneers still have room for improvement on the defensive end. Barry had 159 digs to its opponents' 178. Freshman defensive specialist Kristen Reid had 31 digs for an average of 7.75 per match in the first weekend.
Opponents hit a collective .060 against Barry in the first weekend, while putting away an average of seven balls per set to the Bucs' 10.85.
Barry's first home match is Friday, Sept. 20 vs. No. 28 Palm Beach Atlantic at 7 p.m. in Health & Sports Center on the Buccaneers' campus.
UP NEXT: Barry University will play Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras and Wilmington at the Eckerd Volleyball Classic ... The Buccaneers will be competing in their second straight weekend tournament ... This weekend marks Rio Piedras’ season opener ... Wilmington is off to its second straight road tournament.
EYES ON OPPONENTS: Rio Piedras is making its season debut at the Eckerd Classic ... The Gallitos usher in a completely new team with the exception of Idalia Rodriguez, the team’s lone returner ... Last year, PR-Rio Piedras lost to Eckerd, 3-1, at the South/Southeast Region Challenge in Savannah, Ga. ... Last weekend, Wilmington lost to New Haven, Stonehill and LIU Post at the Charger Invitational in West Haven, Conn. ... Sr. Brittany Biddle, a Third Team Academic All-American, is a smark offensive option ... Shelby Henderson was named the co-CACC Defensive Player of the Week.
COURTING THE BUCS: Barry won its first three matches by 3-0 sweeps before dropping the final match at the Ram Rumble in West Virginia in four sets ... Barry hit .198 as a team in the four-match tournament ... The Buccaneers served up 37 aces in the 13 sets, which topped all Sunshine State Conference schools in the first weekend of play.
ALL-TOURNAMENT PICKS: Soph. MB Laine Cielena and Fr. S Jenny Trinidad were both named to the Ram Rumble All-Tournament team ... Cielena had 37 kills and nine aces in W. Va. ... Trinidad had 81 assists and 10 aces.
SWITCHING IT UP: Barry ran a 6-2 offense at the Ram Rumble with both Trinidad and Soph. S Jasmine Serna seeing time in a setting capacity ... Serna had 48 assists and 28 digs in her double-duty role.
FRESH NEW LOOK: The Bucs put seven freshman on the floor in the Ram Rumble ... Fr. MB Ivana Didanovic had 20 kills, a team-high 11 blocks and hit .304, and Fr. OH Eva Raat had 18 kills and seven blocks.
DETERMINED DOOLEY: Soph. MB Katie Dooley has embraced the 2013 season with a killer instinct ... At the Ram Rumble, she had 19 kills ... Last year, she hadn’t recorded her 19th kill until Oct. 6.
DOWN ON THE BLOCKS: Barry was outblocked, 32-24, by its first four foes ... Last year, the Bucs outblocked teams by 4 at this time and 47 for the season.