Belles Edge Out Bulldogs in Five Sets
ADRIAN, Mich. - The Saint Mary's volleyball team outlasted Adrian for a 3-2 (25-12, 17-25, 25-18, 10-25, 15-9) conference win on Wednesday.
In the first set, the Belles stormed out to a 14-6 lead and later pulled away 23-9 on a six-point run to put the set well out of reach of the Bulldogs. Adrian turned the tables on the Belles in the second set and used several quick spurts of points to build up a 21-12 lead before tying the match at a set apiece.
The third set saw both teams trade punches back and forth. Just when the Belles went ahead 11-8, the Bulldogs came back with four points in-a-row to take a 12-11 lead. After the lead traded hands again, Saint Mary's gained the momentum in the set by winning six of seven points played for a 17-13 advantage. Adrian got within three points at 17-14 and again at 18-15, but three straight points by Saint Mary's made it a 21-15 score, giving the Belles more than enough of a cushion on their way to the 25-18 win.
The fourth set, however, was all Adrian. A four-point run to start the set followed later by a six-point run made it a 12-2 lead in favor of the Bulldogs. Adrian kept their foot on the gas pedal on their way to a 25-10 win to stay alive in the match.
The Belles, however, had the final say on the night. Saint Mary's claimed the first three points of the decisive fifth set. Adrian came back with the next three points to tie the score at 3-3, but the Belles picked up a kill by Clare McMillan, a block by Melanie Kuczek and Kati Schneider, and a kill by Schneider to regain a 6-3 lead. A pair of kills by Kuczek a few points later helped push the Saint Mary's advantage to 9-4. The Bulldogs pulled within two points at 10-8, but the Belles responded yet again with kills by Colleen Kilgallon and McMillan to go up 13-8 before winning 15-9.
Saint Mary's posted attack percentages of .364, .355, and .320 in the first, third, and fifth sets to be well in command of play. Conversely, the Bulldogs hit .419 and .400 in the two sets they won on the night.
Melanie Kuczek led all players in the match with 17 kills while posting a .577 attack percentage on the night. The senior middle hitter also added three blocks. Colleen Kilgallon added a career-high 10 kills after hitting .381 against the Bulldogs. Katie Hecklinski had a match-high 17 digs while chipping in seven kills. Kati Schneider posted 10 digs and nine kills. Clare McMillan tallied 30 assists, and Meaghan Gibbons added 12 digs for Saint Mary's.
The Belles (5-6, 4-3 MIAA) have a break from conference play this weekend as they travel to Manchester for a tri-match with the host Spartans and Franklin. Saint Mary's faces Franklin starting at 3:00 p.m. before taking on Manchester at 5:00 p.m.