Belles Match Program Record for MIAA Wins with Sweep at Trine
- The Belles earned their 11th conference victory of the season, which matches the program record set in 1998.
- Rachel Bonek had a .464 attack percentage on the day as she hammered down 15 kills.
- Kaylin Szucs led all players with 25 digs.
ANGOLA, Ind. - The Saint Mary's volleyball team tied the program record for MIAA wins in a season with a 3-0, (25-21, 25-17, 27-25) win over in-state rival Trine on Saturday.
With the Belles holding a 9-8 lead in the first set, Saint Mary's used a 5-0 run to extend their advantage to 14-8 as Meaghan Gibbons, Colleen Kilgallon, and Rachel Bonek each put down kills. Trine cut the deficit to one point at both 18-17 and 19-18, but the Belles were able to respond both times with a point to maintain the lead late. Saint Mary's won three of the final four points down the stretch to take the first set 25-21.
Saint Mary's broke a 4-4 tie in the second set with a 4-0 run, but the Thunder rallied back to tie the score at 11-11. The Belles, however, rattled off seven of the next eight points to go ahead 18-12. Trine decreased the deficit to five points twice. The Belles' lead was too much for the Thunder to challenge late in the set as Saint Mary's took the 2-0 overall lead with a 25-17 win in the second set.
The third set was a nailbiter for both sides. The host Thunder broke a 13-13 tie with a big 6-1 run to claim a 19-14 advantage as the match looked as though it might need to go to four sets. The Belles had other things on their minds as Saint Mary's won four of the next five points to cut the deficit to 20-18. A service error gave Trine a 21-18 lead, but the Belles rattled off three consecutive points to tie the match at 21-21. The Thunder registered a kill, but Colleen Kilgallon and Rachel Bonek sent home a pair of kills to put the Belles up 23-22. Another kill by Kilgallon two points later gave Saint Mary's set point at 24-23, but Trine stayed alive with a kill of their own. The Thunder staved off another set point at 25-24, but Leah Buck and Alexis Grady put the match away with back-to-back kills for the 27-25 final.
The win gives the Belles 11 conference victories on the season, which matches the program record set in 1998 - the first full season in the MIAA for Saint Mary's. The 11 wins also gives the team sole possession of third place in the conference standings to match the program's highest regular season finish.
Rachel Bonek had a .464 attack percentage on the day as she hammered down 15 kills. Meaghan Gibbons added 15 kills of her own while picking up eight digs and an ace. Leah Buck and Colleen Kilgallon each registered seven kills and a block assist. Kaylin Szucs led all players with 25 digs, and Morgan Klein posted nine digs and an ace. Alexis Grady collected 41 assists and an ace in the win.
The Belles (15-13, 11-5 MIAA) will take on second-seeded Hope on Friday, November 4 in the opening match of the MIAA Tournament, which is hosted by conference champion Calvin.