Belles Beat Bulldogs in Five Sets
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's volleyball team (15-12, 8-7 MIAA) won a 3-2, (25-23, 25-22, 22-25, 23-25, 15-10) conference match at home against Adrian on Tuesday night.
The Belles posted an early lead in the first set and later broke a 9-9 tie with a four-point run to claim a 13-9 advantage to force the Bulldogs into calling a timeout. Saint Mary's extended that advantage to five points at both 17-12 and 18-13, but visiting Adrian capitalized on some miscues by the Belles to edge back within two points at 18-16. Kati Schneider put down a kill to push Saint Mary's ahead 22-19, but again the Bulldogs chipped away and tied the set at 22-22 before taking a 23-22 lead. A pair of hitting errors by Adrian split by a kill by Melanie Kuczek, however, was the difference late as the Belles claimed the opening set 25-23.
The second set was the most closely-contested set of the match as it featured 14 ties and six lead changes. Ten of those ties came after each team had reached 10 points in the set. Saint Mary's was able to keep the upper hand late as the Belles won the point following the five ties which occurred at or after the 18-18 mark. The Bulldogs registered a kill to make it 22-22, but the Belles quickly regained the lead on a service error by Adrian on the next point. Katie Hecklinski and Leah Buck then ensured the second-set win as Hecklinski had a monstrous kill to shift the momentum completely to the Belles while Buck sent a kill off a back row player for the Bulldogs to clinch the set victory.
In both the third and fourth sets, the Bulldogs were able to gain control of the lead midway through the sets. Saint Mary's made a big push late in the third set. Trailing 23-20, the Belles got kills from Kuczek and Schneider to make it 23-22. The late comeback, however, fell short as the Bulldogs made it 2-1 overall in the match. The fourth set saw the Belles make a similar comeback late. This time, Saint Mary's was behind 23-19 and made it 23-23 with two kills by Schneider and a kill and a block by Kuczek. The Bulldogs pulled even with a kill and a block for the 25-23 set victory.
The Belles came out in the fifth set by delivering the first blows as Meaghan Gibbons had back-to-back aces for a quick 3-0 lead for Saint Mary's. Adrian scrapped their way back into the set at 8-6 on back-to-back kills, but Rachel Bonek, Leah Buck, and Katie Hecklinski all put down kills to give the Belles an 11-6 advantage. A few points later, Adrian edged within 11-9 and 12-10, but Saint Mary's had too much momentum for the Bulldogs to overcome as the Belles rattled off three points in-a-row to take the 15-10 fifth set and the conference victory.
Kati Schneider led all players with 24 kills and 28 digs for her 14th double-double on the season. Melanie Kuczek added 14 kills and five blocks, and Katie Hecklinski picked up her 12th double-double with a 12 kill, 20 dig effort. Leah Buck chipped in 11 kills and three block assists.
Clare McMillan had a career-high 61 assists on the night. Meaghan Gibbons had 17 digs, and Samantha Grady added 16 digs in the Belles' 15th win of the season.
The Belles close out the regular season at home on Friday, October 31 against Hope. The match begins at 7:00 p.m. and will be Senior Recognition Night for the six members of the Class of 2015.