Rookies Shine but Wilmington Volleyball Falls 3-0 to Puerto Rico Mayaguez in 2016 Season Opener

Rookies Shine but Wilmington Volleyball Falls 3-0 to Puerto Rico Mayaguez in 2016 Season Opener

Copyright 2016; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. File photo of Allison Briley, who led the team on Friday with nine digs, taken by Frank Stallworth in 2015. 

MELBOURNE, Fla. - - The Wilmington University volleyball team started its 2016 campaign with a 3-0 loss to Puerto Rico-Mayaguez on Friday afternoon in game two of the 2016 Panther Invitational hosted by Florida Tech.

Set scores for the match were 25-16, 25-19, and 25-22.

The Wildcats (0-1) fought to find consistency throughout the match, giving up eight service aces and only hitting .151 for the match. Conversely, the Bulldogs (1-1) found a rhythm with the aide of playing their second match of the day. They hit .270 for the match and only allowed three Wildcat aces.

Freshman Jill Braunsberg shined in her first collegiate contest, finishing with a team high eight kills on 20 swings, while only committing two errors. She added 10 assists, three digs, two block assists, and a service ace for a team high 10.0 points.

Classmate Rebecca Ralinson hit .500 for the Wildcats, putting down five kills on eight swings while adding two block assists as well. Senior Allison Briley finished with a team high nine digs, adding four kills for the match. Sophomore Miranda Shaw also dished out 10 assists while adding seven digs in the start for the Wildcats.

The Wildcats led 7-6 in the first set before a 9-2 Bulldog run opened the set, putting Puerto Rico on top 15-9. The Bulldogs started fast in the second set, taking leads of 5-2 and 8-3 before never looking back to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.

The Wildcats stormed back from a 17-13 deficit in the third set with five straight points en route to a 6-1 run to take a 19-18 lead. But the Bulldogs stemmed the tide and answered with four straight points of their own to retake a 22-19 lead. The Wildcats closed the gap to 23-22, but a service error and a kill gave the Bulldogs the set, 25-22, and the match, 3-0.

The Wildcats will continue the 2016 Panther Invitational on Saturday when they square off against the host Panthers at 9:00 a.m. and conclude with Georgia College at 11:00 a.m.