Belles Battle Back to Defeat Comets
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - After losing the opening set, the Saint Mary's volleyball team came back to win the next three sets and claim an exciting 3-1, (23-25, 25-18, 27-25, 25-22) conference win over Olivet.
In the first set, the Comets broke a 9-9 tie with a block and an ace to take their first lead of the set. Saint Mary's responded by rattling off four points in-a-row to regain the advantage at 13-12 after a pair of aces by Meredith Mersits and a kill by Katie Hecklinski. Neither team was able to pull ahead by more than three points as the teams continued to trade blows. A five-point run by Olivet a few points later gave the Comets a 19-16 lead and some momentum in the closely-contested set. The Belles battled their way back to tie the set at 21-21 and 22-22, but the late rally by Saint Mary's fell short in the opener as Olivet claimed a 25-23 decision.
The second set started in much the same way as the first set as the score was tied on 11 total occasions in the stanza. Melanie Kuczek came up with a big solo block to knot the score at 11-11, but the Comets put together a quick four-point run to pull ahead 15-11. This time, it was the Belles' turn for a big run to shift the momentum. Saint Mary's scored the next six points of the set to regain a 17-15 lead and force Olivet into a timeout. That lead was one the Belles did not give up as a five point run later in the set turned an 18-17 Saint Mary's lead into a 23-17 advantage. The Belles closed out the set with a kill by Kati Schneider and a service ace by Meaghan Gibbons to tie the match at one set apiece.
Saint Mary's came out quickly in the third set to post an 8-2 lead. Olivet had other things in mind as the Comets responded with an eight-point run to go ahead 10-8. The Comets continued to have an answer for everything the Belles threw at them in the third set while refusing to give up the lead. Meredith Mersits came up with two more aces late to make it a 23-21 score, but the Comets went ahead 24-21 on an attack error and were poised for the set victory. That is when the Belles came storming back. Rachel Bonek put down a kill on a ball played up on a block attempt, and Colleen Kilgallon completely shifted the momentum of the set with a no-doubt kill on an overpass to make it 24-23. Samantha Grady tied the set at 24-24 on a service ace before Olivet went ahead with set-point at 25-24. The Belles, however, put down kills each of the next three times the ball was on their side of the net to take the dramatic come-from-behind win 27-25 in the third set.
After a handful of early ties in the fourth set, the Belles went ahead 11-9 and never trailed again on their way to the 25-22 set win and the 3-1 match victory.
Katie Hecklinski had 14 kills and 16 digs for her third double-double of the season. Melanie Kuczek also had 14 kills, and Kati Schneider added 13 kills and 13 digs for the Belles. Clare McMillan posted 48 assists on the night, and Meaghan Gibbons tallied 19 digs. Colleen Kilgallon hit an impressive .417 with five kills on just 12 attempts.
The Belles (2-4, 1-1 MIAA) are back in action tomorrow when they host Albion at noon.