Rally Time: Bucs Volleyball Upends Nova SE

Rally Time: Bucs Volleyball Upends Nova SE
Ashley Carrero slid 27 balls by the Sharks front, biting Nova for a .490 attack percentage. Photo by Jason Roberts

MIAMI SHORES, Fla. -- It was the type of rally cry the Buccaneers needed.

Wanted and needed.

Mired in a two-set hole, Barry stormed back to beat cross-town and Sunshine State Conference rival Nova Southeastern, 22-25, 22-25, 25-20, 26-24, 15-9, Tuesday night at Health & Sports Center.

Buccaneers junior outside hitter Ashley Carrero, a diamond-in-the-rough find from Puerto Rico, pounded 27 kills in a match Barry put together a .301 hitting percentage.

"I think it was all the great desire we had," Carrero said. "We lost the first two sets, but we never gave up. We started to build our confidence by winning the third set. We shifted our attitude to bring about a positive attitude."

Bucs setter Mima Hajdukovic had a season-high 53 assists on a night where fluidity hit its stride as the minutes on the clock continued to tick by.

"We passed the ball well in serve-receive, which allows Mima to run a good offense," Barry coach Steve Hendricks said. "Ashley Carrero had a phenomenal night."

The Buccaneers sent 69 balls to unoccupied territory on the Sharks' side of the court. Nova (4-13, 1-3) had 62 kills and a .210 attack percentage.

Barry improved to 3-0 in five-set matches this season, and climbed back to the .500 mark in the Sunshine State Conference. Now the Bucs take a weekend off from league play to compete in the Pepsi Bash at the Beach tournament hosted by Palm Beach Atlantic in West Palm Beach Friday and Saturday.

In the third set, the Buccaneers took a 16-10 lead on Carrero's kill. Dana Holger's kill helped Nova Southeastern cut it to 19-14, but Carrero pounded another missile to the hardwood to push the lead back to six. Caitlin Donahue's kill and a Bucs error gave the Sharks' late life, trailing 24-20. But Tashalyn Begon slammed home the exclamation point to pull the Buccaneers within a set, 2-1.

The Sharks took an 11-7 lead in the fourth set before the Bucs rattled off eight of the ensuing nine points to regain control, 15-12. Nova hung around, battling tooth-and-nail to knot the score at 19-19 on Sydney Cook's kill. Samantha High's putaway pushed the Sharks to the brink of clinching the match, up 24-23. But Barry responded with kills by Carrero, Laine Cielena and Begon to knot the match at 2-2.

"We're continually learning how to fight for every part," Hendricks said. "The coaching staff just said, 'If we can get 'em to game 5, we have a good chance to win."

That Barry did, forcing the decisive fifth set, where they've found their comfort zone this year, duplicating their success once again.

The Buccaneers raced to a 9-3 lead on Carrero's torpedo. The Sharks sliced the deficit to three on a Bucs setting error, but Cielena and Carrero followed with a pair of successive kills to push Barry's lead to 12-7 on the way to another feel-good win.

Tania Torres finished with 13 kills and three blocks. Begon had nine kills, and Cielena and Hajdukovic each had seven. Jasmine Serna had 16 digs, and Alicia Guerrero 11.