Belles Fend Off Bulldogs in Five-Set Battle
- Marielle Corbett had a match-high 27 kills while picking up 20 digs, four service aces, and a block assist to help lead the Belles.
- Audrey Shannon had an MIAA record and career-high 46 digs to set the tone defensively.
- Morgan VanderWey added 57 assists, and Nicole Lukens posted a double-double with 19 kills and 18 digs.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's volleyball team edged out Adrian in a 3-2 (23-25, 25-21, 25-23, 22-25, 15-9) conference battle on Wednesday night at Angela Athletic & Wellness Complex.
The first set saw the Belles take command of the momentum after establishing a 17-10 lead and forcing Adrian to call both of their timeouts. The Bulldogs chipped away at the Belles' lead and capitalized on some miscues to make it 17-14. A short while later, the momentum fully shifted to the Bulldogs as Adrian tied the score at 20-20 before going ahead 22-20 with a four-point run. Saint Mary's used kills from Leah Buck and Marielle Corbett to tie the score at 22-22, but the Bulldogs responded with consecutive kills for the 24-22 lead. An attack error by Adrian kept Saint Mary's alive in the set at 24-23, but a kill by the Bulldogs ended the set with Adrian taking the opening frame 25-23.
That back-and-forth first set was just a glimpse of what was to come in the match. In the second set, it was Adrian who gained a seemingly insurmountable lead at 19-15. Saint Mary's came right back with a big 5-0 run for the Belles' first lead in the set since 1-0. The Bulldogs put down a kill on the next point, but Saint Mary's responded with consecutive points for a 22-20 edge. After a ball handling error against Saint Mary's, the Belles closed out the set with kills by Buck and Corbett followed by an attack error by the Bulldogs for the 25-21 win.
The third set featured 12 ties and six lead changes as both teams fought to gain a 2-1 overall lead in the match. Saint Mary's was able to break a 16-16 tie with three consecutive points before the teams traded points back and forth. With the score sitting at 23-20 after that stretch, the Bulldogs blocked an attack for a point before serving an ace and putting down a kill to knot the score at 23-23. Nicole Lukens, however, would not be stopped late in the set as the sophomore tallied two kills to lift the Belles to the 25-23 win.
Adrian broke the fourth set open by breaking a 9-9 tie with an 8-1 run for a 17-10 lead. Trailing 21-13 moments later, the Belles went on a late push to try to win the match in four sets. A 7-2 spurt made it a 23-20 score with the Bulldogs still holding the lead. Adrian went up set-point with a kill on the next point, but Marielle Corbett and Rachel Bonek each tallied a kill to keep the Belles alive at 24-22. The Bulldogs, however, claimed the set on an attack error by Saint Mary's to force the fifth set.
That decisive fifth set featured five ties coming early in the stanza. The last of those ties, which came at 5-5, was broken by the Belles with Corbett putting down consecutive kills. Another kill by Corbett and one by Lindsey Pelletier gave Saint Mary's a 9-7 edge. Pelletier's kill jump-started a 5-0 run which extended the Belles' lead to 13-7. That final shift in momentum was one the Belles kept for good as Rachel Bonek closed out the match with a kill for the 15-9 fifth-set win just a few points later. The Belles hit a match-high .367 in the fifth set with 11 kills, no errors, and 30 attempts.
Marielle Corbett had a match-high 27 kills while picking up 20 digs, four service aces, and a block assist to help lead the Belles. Audrey Shannon had an MIAA record and career-high 46 digs to set the tone defensively. The 46 digs in a five-set conference match is two more than the previous record of Adrian's Samantha Mercy's total of 44 in a September 23, 2008 match against Alma.
Morgan VanderWey added 57 assists, and Nicole Lukens posted a double-double with 19 kills and 18 digs. Rachel Bonek put up 13 digs while tallying three block assists and eight kills. Lindsey Pelletier had five blocks on the night, and Leah Buck was in on four blocks for the Belles.
The Belles (7-7, 4-4 MIAA) are back in action on Friday when they host Earlham at 7:00 p.m.