Belles Narrowly Edged Out by Seventh-Ranked Flying Dutch
- Rachel Bonek led the Belles with 12 kills on the night.
- McKenzie Todd and Meaghan Gibbons each had double-doubles.
- Leah Buck had a match-high five blocks.
HOLLAND, Mich. - The Saint Mary's volleyball team held their own in a tightly-played 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 27-25) loss to seventh-ranked Hope on Friday night.
The Belles battled back from a 14-7 deficit in the opening set against No. 7 Hope to pull within two points at 18-16 and 19-17. The Flying Dutch took two consecutive points to go ahead 21-17, but Saint Mary's responded with consecutive points of their own to make it a 21-19 score. A kill by Hope was then followed by a kill by the Belles for a 22-20 score. The Flying Dutch, however, capitalized on an error and put down another kill to go ahead 24-20 before winning the opening stanza 25-21.
The second set saw the Belles pull ahead 7-5 early with a 3-0 run as Saint Mary's got a block and consecutive kills to set the tone. Hope tied the score at 10-10 and 11-11, but the Belles regained the lead with another quick scoring spurt for a 13-11 advantage. The score remained tight as the set featured 11 ties from start to finish. The last of those ties - which came at 18-18 - saw Hope take a 20-18 lead on a kill and an error by Saint Mary's. The Belles were back within a point at 20-19 on a service error, but the Flying Dutch earned the next three points for a 23-19 lead. Meaghan Gibbons and Leah Buck were in on a double block late to keep the Belles alive at 24-22, but Hope closed out the set with a kill on the next point.
Hope jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the third before the Belles came storming back with a run to take a 6-5 lead. A short while later, Saint Mary's posted three consecutive points for an 11-10 lead as the Flying Dutch called a timeout to try to slow the momentum. The teams continued to trade blows back and forth as neither side established larger than a two-point lead for the remainder of the set. Hope was the first team to reach set-point at 24-23, but Saint Mary's responded with a kill by Rachel Bonek as the Flying Dutch used their second timeout of the set. A double block by Leah Buck and McKenzie Todd put Saint Mary's up set point at 25-24, but Hope responded with a kill to tie the set at 25-25. A block by the Flying Dutch and an error by the Belles turned the tables and gave the third set to Hope for the 3-0 final.
Rachel Bonek led the Belles with 12 kills on the night. McKenzie Todd added 10 kills and 19 digs while Meaghan Gibbons chipped in 10 kills and 11 digs. Kaylin Szucs tallied 19 digs for the Belles on the night. Alexis Grady had a team-best 22 assists, and Clare McMillan added 14 assists. Leah Buck had a match-high five blocks.
The Belles (5-7, 2-3 MIAA) have a quick turnaround and host Olivet at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 24 at Angela Athletic Facility.