Belles Split Day Two Matches at Mount Union
ALLIANCE, Ohio - The Saint Mary's volleyball team came back from a 3-1 (25-23, 25-20, 21-25, 25-11) loss against John Carroll in the morning to claim a 3-2 (20-25, 9-25, 29-27, 25-14, 15-12) win over Lawrence at the second day of the Mount Union Purple Raider Classic.
In the first match of the day, the Belles and the Blue Streaks played a tightly-contested match. Saint Mary's edged their way back into the first set after trailing 13-7 to make it a 17-17 contest. After the set was knotted at 18-18, the Belles used a four-point run to go ahead 22-18. Saint Mary's maintained a four-point lead at 23-19, but the Blue Streaks used a big comeback late to take the set 25-23.
The second set saw Saint Mary's claim a five-point lead early in the set and hold a 12-6 advantage after a Meaghan Gibbons ace. John Carroll, however, turned the tables on the Belles again by breaking a 17-17 tie with three points in-a-row. The Blue Steaks held the lead for the remainder of the set for the 25-20 win.
The Belles were in control throughout most of the third set. Falling behind just four times in the set, Saint Mary's broke a 20-20 tie with a four-point spurt and took a 25-21 win with a Melanie Kuczek kill to make it a 2-1 match.
The fourth set, however, was decisively John Carroll's as the Blue Streaks won the set 25-11 to claim the four-set victory.
Melanie Kuczek led the team with nine kills. Kati Schneider added eight kills and led the team with 18 digs. Clare McMillan recorded her 1,000th career in just the 30th match of her career after posting 26 assists. She also chipped in 17 digs while Meaghan Gibbons added 12 digs.
The second match of the day saw dramatic swings of momentum in favor of both teams. In the first set, Lawrence established an early 11-6 lead and did not relinquish the lead despite the Belles' best efforts as the Vikings took a 25-20 win.
The second set, however, was Saint Mary's from start to finish. After the set was tied 2-2, the Belles out-scored the Vikings 11-1 for a 13-3 lead. Saint Mary's later used an eight-point run to put the set well out of reach as the Belles claimed a 25-9 second set victory.
Saint Mary's was on the verge of taking the third set after building a 24-22 lead in a tightly contested third set. Lawrence, however, came back to tie the set at 24-24. The Belles pulled ahead with set point three more times at 25-24, 26-25, and 27-26, but the Vikings came back each time to tie the set before ultimately winning 29-27.
Again, the Belles stormed back with a vengeance as Saint Mary's went up 6-1. With a 6-2 run later in the set, the Belles pulled ahead 20-11 before eventually forcing a decisive fifth set with a 25-14 win.
The Vikings established a 4-1 lead through the first five points of the fifth set, but the Belles were far from finished. Saint Mary's rattled off five points in-a-row for a 6-4 advantage. Lawrence pulled within a point of the Belles' lead three times, but Saint Mary's responded with a quick run to go ahead 11-7. The Vikings chipped away and were within a point of Saint Mary's at 13-12, but the Belles closed out the win with back-to-back kills for the five-set victory.
Katie Hecklinski led the team with 13 kills while posting 18 digs. Leah Buck had her first double-digit kill total of her collegiate career with 12 kills along with three blocks. Kati Schneider added 11 kills and a team-high 21 digs. Clare McMillan recorded 45 assists, and Meaghan Gibbons, Meredith Mersits, and Samantha Grady each tallied double-digit digs for the Belles.
At the conclusion of the tournament, it was announced that Kati Schneider was one of only six players to be named to the all-tournament team.
Saint Mary's (1-3) opens up conference play on Tuesday, September 2 when they travel to Alma for a 7:00 p.m. match against the Scots.