Belles Sweep Comets, Clinch Top Four Spot in MIAA
- Rachel Bonek and Meaghan Gibbons led the Belles with nine kills each.
- Gibbons and Kaylin Szucs shared match-high honors with 16 digs.
- Alexis Grady had a double-double with 30 assists and 10 digs for the Belles.
OLIVET, Mich. - The Saint Mary's volleyball team earned a 3-0 (25-16, 25-17, 25-20) conference win over Olivet on Tuesday night and secured a spot in the top four-only MIAA Tournament in a week and a half.
The Belles won four of the first five points of the opening set and never trailed on their way to setting the tone against the Comets. Olivet edged within a point at 5-4 and two points at 10-8, but Saint Mary's responded to each of those threats with 4-0 scoring runs to stifle the Comets' efforts. The Belles closed out the set with a kill by Meaghan Gibbons, an Olivet attack error, and a kill by Rachel Bonek for the 25-16 win.
The second set began in similar form to the first set with the Belles establishing a quick 4-1 lead. The Comets kept within striking distance by coming up with points to shut down any Saint Mary's attempt at a run as the Belles were unable to string more than two points together at a time throughout much of the set. Consecutive ball handling errors against Saint Mary's put Olivet within four points at 16-12, but the Belles came right back with two points to make it 18-12. With Saint Mary's up 20-14 just a few points later, the Belles claimed five of the next eight points to take a 2-0 overall lead with a 25-17 second set win.
The third set was a back-and-forth battle between the two sides as each team tried to find a rhythm. Olivet capitalized on three miscues by the Belles midway through the set as Saint Mary's clung to a 13-12 lead. The Belles, however, used a Comet service error to kick-start a 4-0 run to extend the lead to 17-12. Olivet continued to fight and pulled within a point at 20-19 after winning seven of the next ten points. The Belles came out of a timeout and went on a 4-0 run before closing out the set 25-20 with a kill by Gibbons for the three-set sweep.
As a team, Saint Mary's registered a .273 attack percentage, marking the sixth time this season the Belles have had better than a .250 hitting percentage in a match. Defensively, Saint Mary's held Olivet to a .076 attack percentage, which is also the sixth time the Belles have kept an opponent to below a .100 hitting percentage.
Rachel Bonek and Meaghan Gibbons led the Belles with nine kills each, and McKenzie Todd posted eight kills on the night. Gibbons and Kaylin Szucs shared match-high honors with 16 digs. Alexis Grady had a double-double with 30 assists and 10 digs for the Belles.
The Belles (13-13, 9-5 MIAA) return home to host Albion on Friday, October 28 at 7:00 p.m. It is the final home match of the season for the team, and the four members of the senior class will be recognized immediately following the completion of the match.