Belles fail to overcome Trine
Observer Sports Staff | Wednesday, September 10, 2014
After coming out on top its previous two conference games, Saint Mary’s MIAA winning streak was snapped at two when conference-rival Trine defeated the Belles, 3-1, on Wednesday at Angela Athletic Facility.
The Belles (3-5, 2-2 MIAA) got off to a quick start in the first set, with senior middle hitter Melanie Kuczek tallying four kills in a row. From there, both teams traded points back and forth until the score was tied at 14. Then, the Thunder (6-1, 2-1) ripped off three points in a row to take a 17-14 lead, and they would not lose that lead again, as Trine took the first set of the match, 25-21.
The second set was even more of a seesaw affair than the first set, with the scoreboard tied at 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15. The Thunder would again go on a three-point run, which led to a Saint Mary’s timeout.
Junior outside hitter Katie Hecklinski and senior outside hitter Kati Schneider recorded kills to bring back the Belles, with a solo block by Schneider tying up the score at 20. Trine would again take the lead at 23-21, but a block by Kuczek and sophomore setter Claire McMillan would help the Belles take a 24-23 lead. From there, the Belles would break through the 12th tie of the set and capitalize on two Trine errors to take the set, 26-24.
The third set saw the Thunder take firm control of the game, going on streaks of four- and five-consecutive points in order to compile a 15-9 lead. Though the Belles were able to narrow the gap to five points when they reduced the score to 15-10 and later to 18-13, the Thunder were simply too strong and took the set, 25-16.
That led to what ended up being the deciding set of the match. Much like the first set, both teams were able to keep the score relatively close until the end of the fourth set. Saint Mary’s built an early lead, but the Thunder went on a five-point run to take the lead by a score of 17-14. From there, the Belles were able to draw close again when blocks by sophomore settler Lexi Grady and freshman middle hitter Leah Buck made the score 20-19 in favor of Trine, but that was as close as the Belles would get.
From there, the Thunder went on a three-point run that ended up proving the difference. Trine held on for a 25-20 set victory, and went on to win the match, 3-1.
Schneider and Hecklinski were the linchpins for the Belles, as the duo led all players with 14 kills each. Elsewhere, Schneider compiled a team-high 19 digs, and Hecklinski was close behind her with 17. Kuczek led all players with five blocks on the night.
The Belles have the rest of the week off and will resume play Tuesday, when they host top-ranked Calvin at home. Game time is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.