Belles Stopped by Thunder, Blugolds
- Katie Hecklinski had a team-high 21 kills and 31 digs in the two matches.
- McKenzie Todd added 28 digs and was named to the all-tournament team.
- Clare McMillan tallied 55 assists on the day.
WHEATON, Ill. - The Saint Mary's volleyball team had some tough competition on Saturday, falling 3-1 to host Wheaton (25-23, 16-25, 25-16, 25-16) and 3-0 against Wisconsin-Eau Claire (25-14, 25-15, 25-23) to end the Wheaton Invitational.
Against the host Thunder, the Belles stormed back from a 21-13 deficit to pull within two points at 23-21 in the first set. Saint Mary's fought off back-to-back set points a few moments later at 24-21 and 24-23, but a kill by Wheaton closed out the set 25-23. Saint Mary's broke an early 4-4 tie in the second set with a 6-0 run and never looked back. The Belles led by at least five points on their way to the 25-16 win to draw even at a set apiece.
The third set saw the Thunder establish a 15-7 lead. The Belles came back within five points at 16-11, but Wheaton continued to pull ahead before taking the set 25-16. In the fourth set, Saint Mary's went ahead 7-3. Wheaton came back to tie the match at 8-8 and 9-9 before claiming a 14-10 advantage. The Belles did not go away quietly and edged within two points at 17-15 and 18-16, but the Thunder closed out the match with a seven-point run for the 25-16 final.
Katie Hecklinski paced the Belles with 14 kills and 22 digs. Alexis Grady added 10 kills, and McKenzie Todd notched 17 digs. Clare McMillan posted 36 assists and 12 digs.
Against the Blugolds, Wisconsin-Eau Claire opened up a 7-7 tie with an 8-2 run to go up 15-9 in the first set. Another run distanced the Blugolds before the 25-14 final. The second set was also tied 7-7 before Wisconsin-Eau Claire made it 19-10 after another run prior to the 25-15 win.
The third set saw the Belles fall behind 15-10 before fighting their way back to take a 16-15 lead. After a couple of back-and-forth points, the Belles used a four-point spurt to go up 20-16. Saint Mary's continued to hold the lead until the Blugolds put down consecutive kills to tie the set at 23-23. Wisconsin-Eau Claire capped off the comeback in the set with a kill and a block to claim the three-set decision.
Katie Hecklinski had seven kills, Alexis Grady added six kills, and Morgan Klein and Colleen Kilgallon each added five kills. Klein had a team-high 15 digs while Grady and McKenzie Todd each chipped in 11 digs. Clare McMillan added 13 digs and 19 assists.
At the conclusion of the tournament, it was announced that McKenzie Todd was named to the all-tournament team. The sophomore had 70 digs on the weekend to average 5.38 digs per set while leading the Belles.
The Belles (11-7, 4-3 MIAA) close out the first round of MIAA matches on Tuesday when they travel to Alma for a 7:00 p.m. match against the Scots.