Belles Battle Past Scots
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's volleyball team fought back from late-set deficits in the second and fourth stanzas to claim a 3-1, (25-23, 25-23, 16-25, 25-22) win over Alma on Wednesday evening.
Saint Mary's broke a 13-13 tie in the first set with three consecutive points on an Alma service error and back-to-back kills by Kati Schneider and Melanie Kuczek. The Scots kept the opener close by pulling within 19-18, but the Belles responded with three points on a Meaghan Gibbons kill, a Katie Hecklinski kill, and a service ace by Schneider. The Belles continued to hold their edge late and pushed the set to 24-22 only to see the Scots come up with a kill to push the set to 24-23. On their next serve, however, the Scots sent the ball long to lift the Belles to the 25-23 win in the first set.
The second set saw Saint Mary's fall behind early and continue to fight their way back into the thick of things. Alma was able to take five-point leads at 16-11, 18-13, and 19-14, but the Belles showed their resilience late in the set. A five-point run by the Belles turned a 19-15 set into a 19-19 affair. The Scots appeared to have regained the momentum with a quick three-point spurt to go up 22-19. Saint Mary's, however, used another five-point run to turn the tables on the Scots and lead 24-22 before eventually claiming the set by a 25-23 score.
Alma posted their best hitting percentage of the match in the third set with 12 kills on 31 attempts and only three errors (.290) while the Belles had their lowest attack percentage after tallying nine kills on 35 attempts and eight errors (.029). The Scots broke a 7-7 tie with three straight points while winning seven of the next eight points for a 14-8 lead. Alma held at least a four-point lead over the remainder of the third set before taking the 25-16 victory.
In the fourth set, the Scots came out with the idea of forcing a fifth set clearly on their minds as Alma jumped out to a 9-3 lead. After an ace, the Scots held that same six-point edge at 11-5 before the Belles began chipping away. By taking two points to each single point scored by teh Scots over the next several rallies, Saint Mary's pulled within a point of Alma at 15-14. The Scots won the next three points and picked up another point after their own service error to extend their lead back to four at 19-15. Saint Mary's came right back with a four-point spurt to tie the set at 19-19 before closing out the set with four straight points.
Katie Hecklinski led all players with 17 kills on the night while also adding 14 digs. Melanie Kuczek notched 10 kills and had a team-best three blocks. Meredith Mersits led all players in the match with 23 digs. Kati Schneider chipped in 18 digs, and Samantha Grady had 11 digs for the Belles. Clare McMillan had 28 assists, and Lexi Grady had eight assists in the fourth set alone for Saint Mary's.
The Belles (8-11, 6-5 MIAA) return to action next Tuesday, October 15 when they host Olivet at Angela Athletic Facility beginning at 7:00 p.m.