Posted: Oct 22, 2019
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's volleyball team gave visiting No. 20 Hope a battle from start to finish but fell short in a 3-0 (25-23, 25-20, 25-21) conference match on Tuesday evening.
The Belles capitalized on some Hope miscues while getting a kill by Nola Wallace early in the first set to gain a 5-3 lead. Spectators were given a glimpse as to how the match would be as the two sides battled back and forth over the next 20 points of play. During that stretch of competition, Wallace continued to provide a big spark for the Belles both offensively and defensively as she put down three kills and was in on a block. The last of those kills tied the score at 14-14 for the seventh tied score of the set. Three consecutive points by the Flying Dutch pushed Hope ahead 17-14, but the Belles were able to put together a short spurt of scoring two points for each one point gained by Hope to pull within 20-19. The teams traded points over the next stretch of play with Wallace and Nicole Lukens each tallying kills as the match stood at 23-22. A service error by the Flying Dutch two points later staved off set-point for the Belles and made it a 24-23 score, but Hope closed out the set with a kill for the 25-23 win.
Saint Mary's gained an early 10-5 lead in the second stanza with Lukens and Lindsey Pelletier kills and a block from Wallace and Morgan VanderWey block. Hope responded with a 7-2 run to tie the score at 12-12. After four more ties, the Flying Dutch edged ahead with four consecutive points for a 21-17 advantage. Saint Mary's battled back with three of the next four points - capped off by a block by Wallace and Alyssa Chong - to make it 22-20. Hope countered with three points to take the set on a kill, an error, and a block for the 25-20 score.
After Hope took the opening two points of the third set, the Belles went on a tear by taking the next ten points of the set. Wallace kicked off the momentum shift with a kill and a solo block before teaming up with Megan Collantes and Alyssa Chong on two more assisted blocks. Wallace continued to roll with another kill and another assisted block to have a hand in six consecutive points. The junior's presence was felt on the next point as the Flying Dutch had an attack error into the net while trying to avoid the block with a back-row attack. After a Hope timeout, a pair of Megan Collantes kills bookended another kill by Wallace as the Belles held a 10-2 advantage. The Flying Dutch chipped away at the Belles' lead with a pair of small spurts before a 13-0 run shifted the momentum in Hope's favor. Hannah Stacy put down a kill, and Wallace and Stacy paired up for a block on the next play to make it 20-15. The Belles then got back-to-back points to cut the deficit to four at 21-17. The Flying Dutch responded with the next two points, but Saint Mary's continued to battle late in the match and made it a 23-19 score. The Belles fought off set point moments later with a solo block by Megan Collantes. The Flying Dutch, however, closed out the set and the match with a kill for the 25-20 decision.
Nola Wallace tied the program's all-time record for block assists in a match (rally scoring) with eight, tied the all-time record for total blocks in a three-set match (rally scoring) with nine, and was tied for the second-most total blocks in a match (rally scoring) with nine all while tying her career-high for kills with 12 as the junior hit .400 on the night. Nicole Lukens added nine kills and 12 digs, and Megan Collantes posted eight kills and eight digs. Brittney Tarkanyi led the Belles with 19 digs, and Morgan VanderWey added 28 assists and seven digs.
The Belles (9-13, 1-5 MIAA) will travel to Georgia to take part in the Emory Invitational. Saint Mary's squares off against Wisconsin-Whitewater and Emory on Friday in day one's action.