Bucs Knock Off No. 18 Lewis on Perfect Day

Bucs Knock Off No. 18 Lewis on Perfect Day
Mima Hajdukovic (right) and the Buccaneers rose to the occasion in beating the 18th-ranked team in the nation. Photo by Jason Roberts

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Earlier in the day, Mima Hajdukovic walked off the court during a timeout and said, "Two more and we're done."

That was in the early match of the day when the stakes weren't as high, momentum was swinging Barry's way and the Bucs were in cruise control. Little did she know that two turned into a whole lot more for a Buccaneer volleyball team trying to find its identity in a year full of change.

What those changes brought -- even a day after they struggled out of the gate -- was a thrilling win that not many volleyball enthusiasts can truly comprehend.

Barry found itself down 14-10 in the final set to the 18th-ranked team in the country. But rally cry after rally cry, point after point led to one of the most unheard of comebacks in a sport where momentum decides so much. Barry rallied from the fifth-set deficit with its backs against the wall to beat No. 18 Lewis in dramatic fashion, 25-20, 22-25, 26-24, 25-20, 16-14.

"It was a good win for our program," second-year coach Steve Hendricks said. "Yesterday, we got a wakeup call. Today, we decided to go out and earn it against two very strong teams. We got great leadership from our seniors, and our team showed great resolve and character in coming back with our backs against the wall."

Barry trailed 14-10 following Jasmine Serna's service error, but Bucs senior hitter Tania Torres slammed home a kill for a sideout swing. Then with Torres serving, Ashley Carrero banged a ball to the floor on one of Hajdukovic's 52 assists. Laine Cielena followed with a kill, and Torres knotted the score at 14-14 with an ace off Lewis' back row specialist.

Torres served up the go-ahead point when Lewis committed a ballhandling error, and Carrero put a stamp on the comeback with an emphatic slam.

"Yesterday we kind of figured out who we were," Hendricks said.

Saturday, they started to write their own story, if just for a weekend.

Now the Buccaneers will take this momentum with them to the Midwest for next weekend's Grand Valley State tournament in Allendale, Mich. Barry doesn't play at home until hosting the Alumni Match Sept. 14. Barry's first regular season match at Health & Sports Center is Sept. 25 against Sunshine State Conference rival Lynn.

Barry hit .263 in its opening-set win over the Flyers. The Bucs had 13 kills in both the first and fourth sets, and attacked at a .256 clip in the fourth.

Torres and Carrero each had 13 kills, Cielena had 12 and Jayla Trombley 10 in the win over the Flyers. Torres hit .367. Serna had 33 digs, Mariana Lisboa added 21, Carrero 15 and Torres and Jeni Hiapo each had 10.

Barry dug 99 balls compared to Lewis' 103. Barry had seven blocks, four of which Trombley played a role in, while Lewis had nine.

In the 25-21, 25-22, 25-16 win over Southern Indiana, the Buccaneers banged 36 kills for a .222 attack percentage, and held the Eagles to an .061 clip, including an -.029 rate in the third set.

Barry got out to an 18-13 lead in the second set on Cielena's kill, and Carrero put away a ball on a setup from Kate Dooley with Rosie Johnston serving. The Eagles knotted it at 21-21 on Lauren DeShaney's kill, but a setting error and Hajdukovic's service point put Barry up two, prompting an Eagles' timeout.

Southern Indiana forced a sideout, but Barry secured the next two points, culminating in Carrero's kill to take a 2-0 lead in a match the Bucs' didn't budge the rest of the way.

Cielena had 12 kills, and hit .476 against the Eagles. Carrero put away 10 balls for a .500 attack rate. Hajdukovic had 29 assists, and Serna 13 digs.

While it's early, and volleyball is a sport of ebb and flow, the pendulum swung Barry's way on the second day of the season. Of course, signature wins over ranked teams are eyebrow raisers for any program.

"We showed great heart to come back in Game 5," Hendricks said of the win over Lewis. "It was a great tournament for us to play in."


Barry 3, S. Indiana 0

Barry 3, No. 18 Lewis 2