Belles Upset Bid Stopped Short Against Flying Dutch
- Alexis Grady had a triple-double with 10 kills, 10 digs, and 24 assists.
- Clare McMillan recorded her 2,000th career assist.
- Katie Hecklinski led all players with 18 kills.
- Leah Buck had a match-high .353 attack percentage with eight kills.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Alexis Grady posted a triple-double while Clare McMillan recorded her 2,000th career assist, but it was not quite enough in the Saint Mary's volleyball team's effort to upset 14th ranked Hope on Friday night as the Flying Dutch claimed the 3-1, (25-17, 22-25, 25-21, 25-20) final.
Resilience was the name of the game for the Belles on Friday night. In the opening set, Saint Mary's trailed 11-3 in the early going before edging their way back into things at 13-9. The Flying Dutch countered with three consecutive points to make it 16-9. The Belles continued to battle to try to keep close to Hope, but the Flying Dutch used a three-point spurt late to go ahead 21-13 before claiming the 25-17 first set.
To say the second set was tightly played and evenly contested would be an understatement. The score was tied five times and the lead changed hands on three instances as the Belles again showed their grit after falling behind early. Trailing 5-1, Saint Mary's gained confidence while chipping away at the deficit with small two-point spurts to make it 9-7 for Hope. The Flying Dutch regained a five-point lead as the Belles called a timeout at 13-8. After the break, Saint Mary's went on a tear by rattling off seven straight points to turn the tables and go up 15-13.
Both teams continued to battle back and forth late in the set. What had appeared to be a kill to tie the set at 19-19 was waved off on a ball handling error as Hope went ahead 20-18 before making it a 21-18 score. But the Belles were not done yet. An attack error by Hope and a solo block by Rachel Bonek made it 21-21. After a Hope timeout, the Flying Dutch won back a point for a 22-21 lead, but the Belles had too much momentum late in the set as Alexis Grady had a hand in the final four points of the set - two kills and the assist on kills by Colleen Kilgallon and Katie Hecklinski - to lift the Belles to the 25-22 second set win.
Saint Mary's once again fell behind early in the third set as Hope jumped out to a 9-2 lead. Showing that continued resilience throughout the night, Saint Mary's fought all the way back to pull within a point of the Flying Dutch at 19-18, forcing Hope to call a timeout. Two points after the break put Hope up 21-18, and the Belles were unable to pull within fewer than two points down the stretch as the Flying Dutch took the 25-21 third set.
Not going down without a continued fight, the Belles held close to Hope throughout the fourth set. A four-point run early in the set by Saint Mary's saw the Belles tie the score at 10-10, but the Flying Dutch came back with three points of their own to regain the lead for good in the set. An ace by McKenzie Todd put the Belles back within a point at 15-14, but Saint Mary's was not able to overtake the Flying Dutch late in the set as Hope took the 25-20 win.
Katie Hecklinski led all players with 18 kills and registered a .304 attack percentage in the match. Alexis Grady became just the 29th player in NCAA Division III volleyball this season to register a triple-double as the junior notched 10 kills, 10 digs, and 24 assists. Classmate Clare McMillan surpassed the 2,000-assist plateau on the night with 22 assists while adding a career-high and match-high 19 digs. Leah Buck added eight kills with a match-high .353 attack percentage.
The Belles (8-4, 2-3 MIAA) turn right around and travel to Olivet tomorrow for a noon MIAA match against the Comets.