Belles Drop Heartbreaker to Scots
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's volleyball team dropped a hard-fought conference contest to visiting Alma, 3-2 (22-25, 25-23, 25-21, 20-25, 15-12) on Saturday afternoon.
Comeback would be the word of the day for the Belles against the Scots. In the opening set, Saint Mary's was trailing Alma 18-14 before outscoring the Scots 11-4 for the first set decision. The Belles had 14 kills in the first set to the Scots' eight.
In the second set, Saint Mary's fell behind 10-4 before going on a run to tie the set at 14-14 with an ace, back-to-back kills by Melanie Kuczek, and a kill by Emily Getz. With the Belles up 18-16, the Scots used their own run to take a 21-18 advantage. Saint Mary's got within a point of the lead at 22-21, 23-22, and 24-23, but the Scots took the set by a 25-23 margin.
Trailing 15-9 in the third set, the Belles battled their way back into the thick of things with kill by Emily Getz, a double block by Taylor Etzell and Getz, and a kill by Katie Hecklinski to edge within 20-18. The Scots picked up the next two points, but Saint Mary's responded with two points of their own to move the score to 22-20. Alma tallied the following two points to go up 24-20 on their way to the 25-21 decision.
Down 10-7 in the fourth set, the Belles went on a tear, outscoring the Scots 7-1 for a 14-11 lead. Alma tied the set at 15-15, but Saint Mary's used an eight-point run to distance themselves from the Scots. During that crucial run, Melanie Kuczek had two kills and a solo block, while Emily Getz and Kati Schneider each added kills. Alma tried to make things interesting by pushing the score to 24-20, but a kill by Kati Schneider sent the match to the decisive fifth set.
The Scots opened up the fifth set by taking a 4-1 lead, but the Belles once again mounted a comeback with a five-point spurt to take a 6-4 lead. The teams were tied at 6-6, 7-7, 8-8, 9-9, and 10-10, but Alma would put a pair of points together for a 12-10 advantage. Katie Hecklinski edged the Belles within 12-11 on her 15th kill of the afternoon. Alma went back up by two points at 13-11 and 14-12 before taking the 15-12 win in the deciding set.
Kati Schneider matched her career-high for kills with 22 to lead all players in the contest. She added 14 digs for her fifth double-double of the season and second of the week. Katie Hecklinski notched her fourth double-double of the season with 15 kills and 18 digs. Melanie Kuczek added 13 kills and accounted for four of the team's six blocks. Danie Brink had her third 50+ assist effort of her career with 52 helpers in the match to go along with 18 digs to share match-high honors with Hecklinski.
The Belles (8-6, 4-2 MIAA) will host second-ranked Calvin on Wednesday, September 26 beginning at 7:00 p.m.