MIAMI SHORES, Fla. -- Barry University's volleyball team understands the test that lies ahead in Friday's 7 p.m. home opener against No. 28 Palm Beach Atlantic at Health & Sports Center.
"I think the team is really excited to play at home, and PBA is a great home opener," Barry third-year coach Steve Hendricks said. "They're off to a great start."
The Sailfish (9-1) have won all of their matches in three-set sweeps, including eight in a row. Their lone blemish was a five-set loss to Tusculum on the first day of the season at Carson Newman's tournament in Jefferson City, Tenn.
"They're a good ball control team, they play fast, and it'll be a challenge for us," Hendricks said.
The Buccaneers are off to a better start this year than a year ago in terms of wins and losses, and that's with a team equipped with only one senior in outside hitter Ashley Carrero. Last season, Barry was 3-3 at this point, two of its losses coming via sweeps with an exciting five-set win over the No. 18-ranked team squeezed in between. This year, the Buccaneers are 4-2 with two three-set losses and a chance to play a ranked team looming.
"We have a great shot against this team," Hendricks said. "We're looking forward to the battle and sticking to the challenge."
Palm Beach Atlantic sophomore hitter Faith Rohn is averaging 4.5 kills per set, and leads the 'Fish with 144 putaways. Junior setter Becca Acevedo has 316 assists with an average of 9.88 per set. Sophomore middle blocker Stephany Brown is first in blocks (22) and second in kills (84).
Barry sophomore setter Jasmine Serna has 103 assists, while splitting the duties with freshman Jenny Trinidad, who has 91. Between the two of them, they've combined to average 11.49 assists per set. Sophomore middle blocker Laine Cielena leads the team in kills (53), while freshman middle blocker Ivana Didanovic has a team-best .395 attack percentage and junior outside hitter Jayla Trombley is hitting .377. Freshman defensive specialist Kristen Reid leads the team in digs (48), and Serna shadows her closely with 47. Carrero has 45 kills, and sophomore middle blocker Katie Dooley 26.
Barry will host its annual Alumni Match at 4 p.m. Saturday with some of the former Buccaneer greats returning to HSC to play against this year's current crop of youthful Bucs.
"I am really excited to be in front of a home crowd," Hendricks said. "Having the addition of a 'seventh player,' if you will, is a benefit to us. To have their support and enthusiasm makes us feed off their energy because we are a very passionate playing team, and we thrive in that environment. We want to be a fun team to watch."
UP NEXT: Barry University hosts No. 28-ranked Palm Beach Atlantic in the
home opener ... The Buccaneers lost both meetings to the Sailfish in 2012.
EYES ON OPPONENT: Palm Beach Atlantic got off to a great start this season,
winning nine of its first 10 matches via three-set sweeps ... PBA has won
eight straight matches ... The Sailfish’s lone loss was a five-set setback to Tusculum
on opening day at the Carson Newman Tournament in Jefferson City, Tenn.
... Soph. OH Faith Rohn is the Sailfish’s leading hitter with 144 kills ... Jr. S
Becca Acevedo has 316 assists ... Soph. MB Stephany Brown has 22 blocks.
ATTACK MODE: Barry has outhit its fi rst six opponents in all three categories
-- kills (217 to 172), attack percentage (.213 to .121) and kills/set (11.4 to 9.1).
MAKE IT TWO TO TANGO: Soph. MB Laine Cielena was named to an
all-tournament team for the second straight weekend after collecting the honor at
the Eckerd Classic last weekend ... She and Fr. S Jenny Trinidad received all-tournament
honors at the Ram Rumble on the opening weekend.
SETTING THE TABLE: Soph. S Jasmine Serna had a career-high 42 assists
in Barry’s sweep of Wilmington to cap its play at the Eckerd Classic Saturday ...
Her 42 assists is the most for any player in a match the Bucs have played so far.
HOT HAND HANDLER: Between Serna and Trinidad, the Bucs have fl ipped
the switch over the first six matches as to who’s handling the setting duties ...
Serna leads the team with 103 assists, while Trinidad has 91.
DOWN WITH DIDANOVIC: Fr. MB Ivana Didanovic ranks 28th in the country
in attack percentage at .395 ... She is third on the team with 36 kills.
FRESH NEW LOOK: All six freshmen have seen playing time already for the
Bucs this season ... Two of them lead in separate stat categories ... Fr. Ivana Didanovic
leads the team in blocks (14) ... Fr. Kristen Reid leads in digs (48).
DOWN ON THE BLOCKS: Barry has been outblocked, 37-32, by opponents
this year ... Pace and Wilmington are the two teams the Bucs have outblocked.
ALUMNI GATHERING: Barry’s annual alumni match is set for 4 p.m. Saturday
at HSC ... The Buccaneers welcome back several of its former greats.