MIAMI SHORES, Fla. -- Barry University's volleyball team continues the toughest stretch in its season with a pair of road contests Friday and Saturday to begin Sunshine State Conference play.
The Buccaneers (4-3) play at Rollins (10-2) Friday at 7 p.m. in Winter Park, Fla., and at No. 3 Tampa (7-1) at 4 p.m. Saturday. Follow Friday's match by visiting HERE or via LIVE STATS. Saturday's match can be accessed by clicking HERE.
Rollins opened the season with eight consecutive wins to ascend to No. 25 in the NCAA Division II national poll as released by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. But two losses in a three-match stretch dropped the Tars out of the Top 25 on Monday. Palm Beach Atlantic, who beat the Buccaneers last weekend, reclaimed the No. 25 spot on Monday. The following night, Rollins beat the Sailfish in a five-set match in West Palm Beach.
Tampa, last year's NCAA runner-up, won seven straight matches to begin the season before losing to No. 4 Concordia-St. Paul in four sets nearly two weeks ago. The Spartans have not played since, but will open the conference season against Florida Tech Friday night before the Bucs visit Martinez Center Saturday afternoon.
The Buccaneers are 30-18 all time against Rollins, having split with the Tars last season. Barry holds a 15-38 mark against the Spartans, losing both matches in 2012.
Barry will return home Oct. 4-5 against Nova Southeastern and Lynn, respectively. The match against Nova Southeastern begins at 7 p.m., while the first serve against Lynn is set for 4 p.m.
UP NEXT: Barry University has two road matches to begin conference play in the toughest stretch of the season ... The Buccaneers will be playing their second and third opponents in consecutive matches who’ve earned a national ranking.
EYES ON OPPONENTS: Rollins rattled off eight straight wins to begin the year and climb to No. 25 in the AVCA poll before dropping two of three ... The Tars bounced back with a five-set win at No. 25 Palm Beach Atlantic Wednesday ... Camille Indest (146 kills) and Ruth Harrington (115) are the Tars top two hitters ... April Jackson (261 assists) and MaryEllen Poe (185) split time as setters ... Indest and Jessica Wilson have combined for 85 blocks ... Tampa, last year’s NCAA runner-up, won seven straight to open the season, including three straight over ranked foes at the Colorado Premier tournament in Denver before dropping a four-set match to No. 4 Concordia-St. Paul ... Holly Reschke (82 kills) and Berkley Whaley (81) are the Spartans’ top hitters entering Friday’s match vs. Florida Tech ... Jessica Wagner, already named SSC Defensive Player of the Week, is the leader in blocks (36) entering the weekend.
ATTACK MODE: Barry has outhit its first seven opponents in all three categories: kills (245 to 218), attack percentage (.193 to .139) and kills/set (11.1 to 9.9).
ACES ARE WILD: Barry’s 2.27 aces per set leads the Sunshine State Conference ... The Bucs rank 18th in NCAA II ... Rollins is fifth (1.79) in the SSC, and Tampa (1.43) eighth ... Barry Fr. S Jenny Trinidad leads the SSC (0.61) and is 35th in the NCAA, and Soph MB Laine Cielena (.50) is second in the SSC.
FRESH NEW LOOK: All six freshmen have seen playing time for the Bucs this year ... Two of them lead in separate stat categories ... Fr. MB Ivana Didanovic leads the Bucs in blocks (14) ... Fr. L Kristen Reid leads in digs (64).
DOWN WITH DIDANOVIC: Didanovic leads the conference in attack percentage at .389 ... She ranks 34th in the country in that category.
0-FOR-5: The Bucs have yet to play a five-set match this year ... Last season, Barry was 6-2 in five-setters ... Rollins is 1-1 when going the distance this year ... Tampa has not played a five-set match leading into the weekend, either.
DOWN ON THE BLOCKS: Barry has been outblocked, 43-36, by opponents this year ... Pace and Wilmington are the two teams the Bucs have outblocked.