Belles Bested by Brits
- Nicole Lukens led the Belles with 21 kills and added 19 digs and two blocks.
- Leah Buck moved into second place all-time in career blocks in the rally scoring era with five as the senior has amassed 230 blocks in her career.
- Audrey Shannon led all players with 21 digs.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's volleyball team fell in a 3-2 (23-25, 25-15, 23-25, 22-25, 15-8) conference match against Albion at Angela Athletic & Wellness Complex on Friday night.
The Belles opened the match on a tear and established a 6-1 lead on kills by Rachel Bonek, Nicole Lukens, and Marielle Corbett. Albion chipped away at the Belles' lead before tying the score at both 13-13 and 14-14. Saint Mary's continued to find a response and never fell behind in the set. A Corbett kill put the Belles up 19-16, but three consecutive points by the Brits knotted the score again at 19-19. As was the case earlier in the stanza, the Belles regained the lead with a Bonek kill before going up 21-19 on an Albion error. The Brits tied the score yet again at 22-22, but the Belles stayed steady late as a pair of Nicole Lukens kills after an Albion service error gave Saint Mary's the 25-23 win in the set.
Albion gained the momentum early in the second set and established a 10-5 lead through the opening points. Saint Mary's twice edged within four points at 10-6 and 11-7, but the Brits put down back-to-back kills to make it a 13-7 score. A four-point run a short while later made it an 18-11 score, and the Brits continued to take advantage of the lowest hitting set (.073 attack percentage) of the match by the Belles on their way to the 25-15 win to give each team a set.
The Brits carried over that momentum into the third set and built a huge 19-12 lead. The Belles were far from finished in the frame, however. Leah Buck put down a kill, and Corbett followed suit two points later to make it 20-14. A ball handling error by the Brits was followed by an Albion kill as the teams traded points to push the score to 21-15. Corbett put down a kill, and Bonek and Alyssa Chong combined for a block to re-energize the Belles at 21-17 as Albion called a timeout. Still trailing a few points later at 22-18, Buck, Lukens, and Bonek got a big kill in the middle as Saint Mary's continued to fight late in the set. Albion tallied a kill to gain a 23-19 edge, but Nicole Lukens tallied five kills and the Brits registered a hitting error as a stunning 6-0 run gave the Belles the 25-23 third-set win.
Saint Mary's opened the fourth set with a 9-5 lead after kills by Corbett, Lukens, and Bonek as well as blocks by Buck, Lukens, and Corbett gave the Belles some early momentum. After calling a timeout, the Brits came right back to tie the score at 11-11 before going up 13-11. It was the Belles' turn to use a timeout to their advantage, and Saint Mary's countered with a run to knot the score at 15-15. Two points on kills gave the Brits a lead they would not relinquish, and Albion held off any possibility of another late run by the Belles in a 25-22 fourth set to force the decisive fifth set.
The Brits gained an early 5-2 lead in the fifth frame, but Saint Mary's continued to fight and stayed well within striking distance in the set as the teams traded points back and forth. That back-and-forth trend continued with Corbett, Bonek, and Lukens each coming up with key kills for the Belles as Saint Mary's trailed 10-8. The Brits, however, built quick momentum late on back-to-back kills and a double block for a 13-8 lead before taking the set and the match with a 15-8 score.
Nicole Lukens led the Belles with 21 kills and added 19 digs and two blocks. Marielle Corbett posted 17 kills and 13 digs, and Rachel Bonek tallied 14 kills, 13 digs, and three blocks. Leah Buck moved into second place all-time in career blocks in the rally scoring era with five as the senior has amassed 230 blocks in her career. Audrey Shannon led all players with 21 digs. Morgan VanderWey added a double-double with 49 assists and 11 digs for the Belles.
The Belles (11-9, 7-6 MIAA) have a quick turnaround as they host Trine at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.