Belles Outlast Hornets
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's volleyball team repeatedly showed their resilience as they defeated Kalamazoo, 3-2 (25-20, 27-25, 18-25, 20-25, 15-13) on Tuesday night.
The Belles jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead to open the match and never relinquished the lead. The visiting Hornets pulled to within 19-17 on an ace, but Saint Mary's closed out the set with a solo block by Melanie Kuczek.
The tide turned on Saint Mary's early in the second set as Kalamazoo took the 6-0 lead before back-to-back kills by Katie Hecklinski and Kati Schneider got the Belles on the scoreboard. Kalamazoo extended their lead to as much as seven (16-9), but Saint Mary's would not concede defeat in the set. With the Hornets up 20-15, the Belles rattled off five consecutive points to tie the set at 20-20. After trading a one point lead back and forth, Saint Mary's had set point only to see Kalamazoo tie the set at 24-24. The Hornets then came up with a block to go up 25-24, but the Belles completed the second set comeback with three straight points for the 27-25 win.
In the third set, Kalamazoo broke an 8-8 tie with a five-point run for the 13-8 lead. The Belles were able to edge within 16-15 on back-to-back kills by Emily Getz. The Hornets, however, responded with a seven-point run of their own for a 23-16 lead on their way to the 25-18 decision in the third.
Riding the momentum from the third set, Kalamazoo hit .406 as a team to the Belles' .250 and led from start to finish in the fourth set to force a deciding fifth set.
In the fifth, the Hornets scored three straight to take a 6-3 lead and force a timeout. The Belles then came out of the timeout with six consecutive points for a 9-6 lead. During that run, Kati Schneider had three kills to swing the momentum in favor of Saint Mary's. Kalamazoo got within 11-10, but the Belles responded with big kills by Emily Getz and Brooke Fowler to go up 13-11. With the 14-13 lead, the Belles received the serve and put the ball away in decisive fashion to end the game with a 15-13 win in the fifth set.
Kati Schneider hit .375 on the night with a career-high 22 kills and just four errors on 48 attempts. She added 12 digs for her fourth double-double of the season. Katie Hecklinski led the Belles with 21 digs to go along with eight kills while serving five straight points in the fifth set. Meredith Mersits chipped in 18 digs. Danie Brink had match highs for assists with 48 and aces with four.
The Belles (7-5, 3-1 MIAA) will host Olivet this Friday, September 22 for an MIAA match beginning at 7:00 p.m.