NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's volleyball team took a 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-18) win over Olivet on Tuesday night for the Belles' first conference win of the season.
The two sides jockeyed for position throughout much of the first set as the opening stanza featured seven ties and a pair of lead changes. Saint Mary's trailed Olivet by a 13-11 score before rattling off four consecutive points to edge ahead 15-13. The Belles held at least a two-point lead until three consecutive kills by Alyssa Chong, Lindsey Pelletier, and Nicole Lukens put Saint Mary's ahead 22-17 as Olivet called a timeout. The Comets kept the match alive with a kill a shot while later to make it 24-20, but Lukens closed out the set with a kill out of the middle for the 25-20 win. The Belles hit .315 in the set to Olivet's .271 the two sides combined for only five attack errors in the set.
Much like the first set, the two sides battled for momentum and the lead in the second set. Olivet strung a few points together early to take an 8-5 lead, but Saint Mary's responded with a 5-0 run a short while later to gain a 12-9 edge as the Comets opted for a timeout. Olivet then came out of that timeout and rattled off five points of their own to regain the lead at 14-12. A block two points later made it 16-13 for the Comets, and the Belles called a timeout of their own. Saint Mary's responded with a four-point scoring spurt to go ahead 17-16. The two teams then traded points back and forth until the score was tied at 20-20. A ball handling error against Olivet followed by a kill by Lukens made it 22-20 as the Comets called their second timeout. With the Belles leading 23-22 after miscues by both teams, Lindsey Pelletier and Nicole Lukens closed out a set which featured eleven ties and four lead changes with back-to-back kills for the 25-22 Saint Mary's win.
Olivet jumped out to a 12-7 lead in the third set thanks to a 5-0 run, but Saint Mary's responded with a 4-0 scoring run to pull within a point at 12-11. A kill by Pelletier and an attack error by the Comets then knotted the score at 13-13. With the score tied at 15-15, Lindsey Pelletier served up an ace to give the Belles a lead they would not relinquish. An attack error on the next play by Olivet led the Comets to call a timeout. The visitors got a point back on the next play, but back-to-back kills by Lukens and Laura Keating led to the Comets taking their second timeout of the set at 19-16. Olivet edged within two points at both 19-17 and 20-18, but Saint Mary's went on a tear on offense late in the set. Lukens and Pelletier combined for five kills on the final five points of the match to lift the Belles to a 25-18 win in the third set for the sweep.
Nicole Lukens set a new Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) record for kills in a three-set match with 25 while adding 22 digs to lead all players in both categories. Lindsey Pelletier boasted a .478 attack percentage with 12 kills and just one error on 23 attempts while also putting down five blocks. Morgan VanderWey collected 45 assists and eight digs, and Audrey Shannon picked up 21 digs. Brittney Tarkanyi chipped in 15 digs, and Claire Hennessy added 11 digs.
The Belles (9-10, 1-2 MIAA) host Adrian on Friday night for a non-conference match starting at 6:30 p.m.