Saint Mary’s ends season with semifinal loss
Observer Sports Staff | Thursday, November 10, 2016
Saint Mary’s ended its most successful conference season since joining the MIAA with a 3-1 defeat in the semifinals of the conference tournament to No. 10 Hope.
After tying a program record with 11 wins in the MIAA — in addition to putting up a 15-13 record in the regular season — the Belles (15-14, 11-5 MIAA) came into the conference semifinals as the No. 3 seed. However the Belles couldn’t upset the Flying Dutch (25-5, 13-3), with the game ending 3-1.
The Belles got off to a strong start to the match, taking a 5-1 lead in the first set, but this lead quickly disappeared and the Flying Dutch pulled away with an 11-1 run on their way to taking the set, 25-16.
The Belles fell behind early in the second set but soon took another impressive lead as they went up 15-9. Yet the Flying Dutch again came back and took the set, 25-22.
With the Belles needing to win the third set, they trailed 22-20, but came back to tie it at 23-23 before taking the final two points to keep themselves alive. However, despite leading 6-1 and 18-13 in the fourth set, the Belles again lost their lead as the Flying Dutch came out 25-22 winners of what was the final set.
Senior outside hitter Meaghan Gibbons had 14 kills, while junior outside hitter Rachel Bonek added another 13. Senior setter Alexis Grady had 24 assists as well as the kill that won the Belles the third set.
Gibbons and freshman libero Kaylin Szucs both received All-MIAA recognition for their performances this season.