Belles Sweep Spartans to Open Season
- Nicole Lukens led all players with 11 kills while adding 13 digs for a double-double.
- Morgan VanderWey collected 30 assists and nine digs.
- Audrey Shannon led all players in the match with 15 digs on the night.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's volleyball team started the 2018 season with a 3-0 (25-20, 25-15, 25-23) win over Manchester University on Tuesday evening.
The Belles battled back from an early deficit against the Spartans in the first set as Saint Mary's trailed by three points on multiple occasions. With the score at 12-9, Laura Keating put down a kill to set up a serving spurt Nicole Lukens. Lukens opened up that spurt with back-to-back aces, and Mordan VanderWey and Lindsey Pelletier each put down kills to put the Belles up 14-12. Manchester called a time out and came back to knot the score at 14-14, but Saint Mary's went on a 5-1 scoring run to take a 19-15 lead. The Belles led by at least three points over the remainder of the set as Saint Mary's took the opening stanza 25-20.
The Belles gained an early lead in the second set and never trailed. Leading 12-10, Saint Mary's went on a 10-2 run to take complete control of the set on the way to a 25-15 win. Hannah Stacy put down five kills on nine attempts in the set as the Belles registered a .303 attack percentage while holding Manchester to a .176 during that same span.
The third set featured six ties as both teams continued to battle back and forth. Manchester used a 5-1 scoring run midway through the set to gain a 19-15 lead over Saint Mary's. An attack error followed by an ace, two more attack errors, and a big block by Lukens and Pelletier swung the momentum back in favor of the Belles as Saint Mary's went ahead 21-19. A kill by Pelletier a few points later put the home side up 23-20, but the Spartans came right back with three consecutive points to knot the score at 23-23. Pelletier, however, delivered a commanding kill to push the Belles to match-point at 24-23. A service ace by Lukens then closed out the match as Saint Mary's prevailed 25-23 in the set.
Nicole Lukens led all players with 11 kills while adding 13 digs for a double-double. The junior also posted three aces and a pair of blocks. Alyssa Chong chipped in nine kills, and Hannah Stacy posted seven kills. Morgan VanderWey collected 30 assists and nine digs. Audrey Shannon led all players in the match with 15 digs on the night.
The Belles (1-0) travel to Grand Rapids, Michigan this Friday and Saturday for the MIAA Preview Tournament. Saint Mary's opens play on Friday afternoon at 5:00 p.m. against Trine.