Northeastern women’s volleyball unable to complete comeback in fourth set, fall to Boston College in season opener


Riley Robinson

The Huskies battled hard, but could not overcome Boston College Saturday night.

Mihiro Shimano, sports editor

After COVID-19 cancellations interrupted the season opener against the University of Connecticut, the women’s volleyball team finally stepped onto the court Saturday to play against non-conference opponent and near-annual rival Boston College. However, they were unable to comeback in the fourth set, falling to the Eagles 3-1. 

“It was great from start to finish. The team brought a lot of energy, they worked really hard. I can definitely see the hard work we’ve been putting in the gym paying off on the floor,” said head coach Lenika Vazquez. 

The Huskies started off strong in the first set, holding leads at 21-17 and 23-21. The first rotation included sophomore libero Kayla Martin, senior setter Samantha Shupe, senior middle blocker Gabrielle Tschannen, sophomore opposite and outside hitter Erica Staunton, freshman outside hitter Defne Arliel, freshman middle blocker Marika Virthe and junior opposite and outside hitter Brianna Daphnis. 

Daphnis landed back-to-back kills, taking the 8-7 lead. By the time BC called for a timeout, Northeastern was leading 20-17, with Staunton dishing out three kills in the set. However, they were unable to hold onto the lead until the end, as the first set ended 23-25 for the Eagles. 

The same starters were back for the second set, with kills from Staunton, Virthe, Jenkins and Tschannen. Several attacks from BC senior outside hitter Clare Naughton were strongly blocked by the Huskies, including two from Jenkins, but NU continued to trail behind 10-15 as BC called a timeout. 

Several kills by the Huskies brought the scores closer together but in the fast-paced game, a five point difference at 19-24 forced Vazquez to call a timeout for the team. Unfortunately, the clock ticked too fast for NU as a kill by BC freshman setter Sophia Lambros ended the second set at 20-25 for BC.

Despite the losing streak, Northeastern dominated the leaderboard, Staunton leading the back row with a total of four kills and two blocks this set, as well as Jenkins and sophomore middle blocker Nailah Daphnis. 

The third set opened much stronger for the team as Staunton attacked one after the other, racking up the score to 4-3. Several points from BC attack errors and subsequently, good blocks by the team got the Huskies to a 12-6 lead, forcing BC to call a timeout. 

The Huskies did not let the Eagles escape with the win just yet as they fought back kill after kill from Shupe, Arliel, Staunton, Tschannen, Carroll and Jenkins. An attack error by BC freshman middle blocker Annie Cornay brought the set to a halt at 25-17 for the Huskies. 

Once again in the fourth set, the Huskies started off strong with multiple kills from Staunton and Daphnis as well as from Shupe and Virthe. However, BC quickly caught up in the point difference, leaving Northeastern to call a timeout at 8-8. Afterward, BC scored three more points in a 6-0 scoring run. 

Tensions on both sides were heightened as BC winning this set would mean the end of the game and a win for the Eagles. Finally, after a back and forth of timeouts, NU won back the momentum after an attack error by BC, hoping to play another set. However, they were unable to complete the comeback as the set ended at 14-23. 

NU overall had more kills than BC across all sets, totalling 57 opposed to BC’s 44. Top players that dominated the attacking leaderboard included Staunton, Daphnis and Jenkins, who respectively ended the game with 16, 11 and nine kills each. 

“Just across the board, we did really well,” Vazquez said. “Erica was around the 16 kill range, Brianna came out really blocking on the defensive side as well as on the offensive side so she had a stellar performance herself.”

Other players such as Martins placed top with 19 digs and Shupe as well with 21 assists throughout the game. 

Despite having a much later start to their season than usual due to COVID-19, the team will now be playing both conference and non-conference teams over the next few months. The Huskies are scheduled to play next against non-conference opponent St. John’s Feb 15., this time on home court before matching up again with BC Feb. 20.