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Belles Stymied by Bulldogs

The team, wearing blue uniforms with white numbers, huddles up prior to the start of the match.

ADRIAN, Mich. - The Saint Mary's volleyball team fell in a conference match at Adrian by a 3-0 (25-23, 25-20, 25-17) final score on Wednesday evening.

The two sides matched each other point for point early on as the first set featured seven scoring changes through the first 20 points played. With the score knotted at 9-9, the host Bulldogs went on a 8-3 run to establish a 17-12 lead as the Belles opted for a timeout. Saint Mary's came out of that break and fired off three points in-a-row to get right back into things at 17-15. A short while later, Brittney Tarkanyi served up an ace just before Nicole Lukens and Alyssa Chong paired up for a block to edge the Belles within a point at 19-18 as the Bulldogs called a timeout. Saint Mary's was able to tie the score at 20-20, 21-21, 22-22, and 23-23, but an attack error by the Belles and a kill by the Bulldogs lifted Adrian to the 25-23 first set win.

The Saint Mary's defense made some highlight-reel worthy plays in the second set with multiple one-handed diving digs and pancakes. During one particular stretch of play which featured many of said defensive plays, the Belles were able to turn an 8-6 deficit into an 11-8 lead. Chong and Lukens had back-to-back kills, Tarkanyi served up another ace, and Lukens put away another kill to give Saint Mary's their largest lead of the set. Adrian kept close as the score was tied at 13-13, 14-14, 15-15, and 16-16 before Saint Mary's climbed ahead 18-16. The Bulldogs called their second timeout of the set and went on a decisive 5-1 scoring run to gain a 21-19 lead. A service error by Adrian made it 21-20, but a Saint Mary's blocking error, a block by the Bulldogs, and back-to-back Adrian kills gave the home team the 25-20 win.

Adrian took an early lead in the third set and never relinquished it. Leading 9-6, the Bulldogs used a big run to build a 17-8 lead to gain the momentum in the set. Saint Mary's continued to fight as the Belles were able to cut the deficit to six points at 21-15. Adrian came right back with consecutive kills to go ahead 23-15 as the Bulldogs then went on to take the set by a 25-17 score.

Nicole Lukens registered a double-double on the night with a team-best 11 kills and 19 digs. Lindsey Pelletier put down seven kills, and Alyssa Chong added six kills. Audrey Shannon led all players with 24 digs. Morgan VanderWey posted 27 assists and eight digs. Brittney Tarkanyi had two service aces for the Belles.

The Belles (7-9, 0-2 MIAA) travel to Dominican University on Saturday as they take on both Rockford and Dominican at 2:00 p.m. CDT and 5:00 p.m. CDT, respectively.