Belles Trumped by Trine
ANGOLA, Ind. - The Saint Mary's volleyball team lost a 3-1 (19-25, 25-18, 25-16, 25-22) conference match at Trine on Tuesday evening.
The Belles stormed out to a 6-2 lead in the opening set and forced the Thunder into taking a timeout early. Trine continued to cut into the lead before tying the set at 11-11 before taking a 12-11 advantage, but the Belles took the lead right back with a three-point spurt. Trine edged back within a point at 19-18, but a decisive five-point run by the Belles was more than enough to give Saint Mary's the 25-19 first set.
The second set was a big momentum shifter as the Thunder opened up the stanza with nine points in-a-row. The Belles did not go down easily, however, as Saint Mary's won seven of eight points to pull within 12-9 of Trine. Three quick points by the Thunder, however, turned the advantage into a six-point cushion. The Thunder led by at least five points for the remainder of the second set to draw even at 1-1.
With Trine ahead 4-3 in the third set, the host Thunder rattled off six straight points to push their lead to 10-3. Again, the Belles kept battling and cut into the lead at 12-8. Saint Mary's, however, was unable to string more than a couple points together at a time while Trine maintained a four-point lead before taking the set 25-16.
The fourth set had both teams on edge as neither side held more than a three-point lead at any instance in the set. With the Belles ahead 16-13, the Thunder went on a five-point run to go ahead 18-16. Leah Buck put down a pair of kills to make it 18-17 and 20-18 just a few points later, and Katie Hecklinski registered an ace to get the Belles within a point at 20-19. After a block by Trine, the Belles tallied back-to-back points on kills by Buck and Melanie Kuczek to tie the set at 21-21. Two points later, Clare McMillan came up with a timely kill to knot the score yet again at 22-22. The Thunder, however, came up with the next three points to take the set 25-22 and the win.
Melanie Kuczek led the Belles with 13 kills and added a block to reach 200 career blocks at Saint Mary's. Kati Schneider added 12 kills and 11 digs, and Samantha Grady also chipped in 11 digs. Katie Hecklinski posted 16 digs to surpass 1,000 career digs.
Clare McMillan registered a double-double with 41 assists and 12 digs on the night. Meaghan Gibbons led all players in the match with 23 digs. Leah Buck posted an impressive .727 attack percentage with eight kills on 11 attempts with no errors.
The Belles (12-10, 6-6 MIAA) travel to Calvin on Friday, October 17 for a 7:00 p.m. conference match against the Knights.