Belles Battle, Bow to Top-Ranked Knights
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's volleyball team gave the defending national champions and top-ranked Calvin a handful on Friday night, but the visiting Knights prevailed 3-0 (25-14, 25-20, 25-13) at Angela Athletic Facility.
The Knights established a 10-6 lead in the first set before the Belles regained some momentum. After a long, scrappy point Christi Wyble came up with a solo block to edge Saint Mary's within three points. Calvin then had an attack error to make the opening set 10-8. Saint Mary's kept within a few points of the Knights until Jennifer Pluymert served six straight points for Calvin to put the game at 20-10 in favor of the visitors. That margin was too much to overcome despite the Belles playing even with the Knights as Calvin took the opener 25-14.
In the second set, the Belles fought back from an early 4-0 deficit by rattling off four consecutive points, including two service aces by Kati Schneider, to knot the set at 4-4. Each time the Knights tried to go on a run, Saint Mary's was able to respond to the challenge, tying the game at 5-5 and 6-6 while not allowing Calvin to score more than a pair of points at a time. With Calvin leading 16-13, the Belles used a big kill by Allison Zandarski while capitalizing on a pair of miscues by the Knights to tie the set 16-16, forcing Calving to take a timeout. The Knights, however, turned a 19-18 lead into a 22-18 lead late in the set and eventually went on to take the second set by a 25-20 margin.
Similar to the first two sets, Saint Mary's did not go down easily in the third set of the night. A few Saint Mary's miscues coupled with the Knights' .519 hitting percentage translated into the set going from an 8-6 Calvin lead to a 19-9 Calvin lead. Eventually, the hot hitting of the Knights prevailed 25-13 in the third set, giving Calvin the win.
For the match, Calvin hit .357 to the Belles' .144 attacking percentage. The two teams, however, were equal in blocks on the night.
Kati Schneider had a team-high eight kills with two service aces for the Belles in the loss. Allison Zandarski was not far behind with seven kills along with two block assists. Danie Brink added team-highs of 19 assists and 10 digs. Christi Wyble, meanwhile, had a team-best three blocks on the night.
The Belles (1-5, 0-2 MIAA) will look to build upon their tough play from tonight when they travel to Olivet tomorrow for another conference match. The match is slated to begin at 6:00 p.m.