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Belles Conclude Season With Setback at Trine

Morgan VanderWey sets the volleyball with two defensive players in the background.

ANGOLA, Ind. - In what was a must-win match for both teams for a berth to the top-six MIAA Tournament next week, the Saint Mary's volleyball team had their season come to a close with a 3-0 (25-22, 25-16, 25-20) loss at Trine on Saturday.

Trine took a big 10-3 lead in the opening set to gain the early momentum. Saint Mary's chipped away at the deficit and used a 7-1 run to pull within three points at 18-15. NIcole Lukens had a pair of kills and a block, Lindsey Pelletier added two blocks, and the Belles capitalized on a pair of Thunder miscues to get right back into the set. A service error by Trine followed by a kill by Alyssa Chong and a Thunder attack error then made it a 20-19 score as Trine opted for a timeout. Saint Mary's then used a Thunder service error and a Claire Hennessy service ace to knot the score at 21-21. With the score tied at 22-22 moments later, the Thunder closed out the set with a kill, an ace, and a Saint Mary's miscue on offense for the 25-22 win.

With the second set tied 3-3, Trine rattled off six consecutive points on their way to a 13-5 lead. The Belles pulled within five points at 14-9, 16-11, 17-12, and 18-13, but the Thunder put down four consecutive points and regained the momentum with a 22-13 advantage. The Belles were able to fight off set point twice with a kill by Pelletier and a Trine attack error, but the Thunder used a Saint Mary's hitting error to take the 25-16 second set.

Four consecutive points early in the third set turned a 4-2 deficit for the Belles into a 6-4 lead with Morgan VanderWey collecting a pair of kills. The two sides played back-and-forth over the next 14 points as the score stood at 12-12 after a Trine service error. The Thunder, however, posted the next six points for an 18-12 lead. Alyssa Chong put down a kill, Hannah Stacy and Chong teamed up for a block, and Stacy added a kill of her own to make it an 18-15 score, but another scoring run by the Thunder extended the lead to 22-15. Saint Mary's made a late run with three points to turn a 24-17 deficit into a 24-20 score, but Trine registered a kill on the next point to take the match with the 25-20 win.

Nicole Lukens led the Belles with eight kills and a match-high 22 digs. Audrey Shannon posted 20 digs, and Lindsey Pelletier collected six kills and three blocks. Morgan VanderWey eclipsed the 2,000 assist plateau for her career with 25 assists to go along with seven digs and two aces.

The Belles conclude the season with a 12-18 overall record and a 2-6 mark in MIAA contests.