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Belles Rally to Take Win Over Hornets in Five Sets

Lindsey Pelletier prepares to swing at the volleyball.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's volleyball team battled back from a 2-1 deficit to take a 3-2, (26-24, 21-25, 19-25, 25-18, 15-9) win over Kalamazoo in a non-conference match-up on Friday night.
 
The Belles forged ahead 5-0 in the opening moments of the match against the Hornets. Kalamazoo steadily close the gap before taking their first lead at 12-11. With the Hornets then up 15-11 a few points later, Saint Mary's used a 9-2 run to gain a 20-17 edge. Lindsey Pelletier, Courtney Pelletier, Megan Collantes, Alyssa Chong, and Nola Wallace each had at least one kill during that run for the home side. The score was then tied at 20-20 and 21-21 before a service error by the Hornets, a solo block by Morgan VanderWey, and an ace by Collantes put the Belles ahead 24-21. The Hornets stayed alive with three consecutive points to knot the score at 24-24, but Collantes and Lindsey Pelletier put down back-to-back kills for the 26-24 win.
 
Saint Mary's established an early lead again in the second set, but Kalamazoo rattled off a momentum-shifting 9-0 run for a 17-12 lead. A short while later, the Hornets led by a 22-15 margin before a late push by the Belles made things interesting. Hannah Stacy started a run by Saint Mary's with a kill. Consecutive miscues by the Hornets were followed by an ace and another error as the Belles pulled within 22-20. Kalamazoo, however, responded by taking three of the next four points for a 25-21 win in the set.
 
The Belles fell behind in the third set but came back from a four-point deficit at 10-6 to draw even at 14-14. After ties at 15-15 and 17-17, Saint Mary's gained their first lead of the stanza at 18-17. The Hornets, however, put six consecutive points on the scoreboard for a 23-18 lead. That run was too much for Saint Mary's to overcome as Kalamazoo took the set 25-19 to lead 2-1 overall.
 
Saint Mary's turned the tides on Kalamazoo in the fourth set. With the score even at 8-8, the Belles went on an 11-3 run for a 19-11 lead. Alyssa Chong went to the back line for seven serves in-a-row during that run as Saint Mary's had kills from Lindsey Pelletier, Morgan VanderWey, and Megan Collantes. The Hornets made it close a while later with a 6-0 run to pull within 20-18, but the Belles rattled off five consecutive points for a 25-18 win to force the fifth set. While the Hornets put up a strong .308 attack percentage in the set, the Belles were just a step ahead with a .340 attack percentage and were led by a .461 hitting performance by Lindsey Pelletier in the set.
 
The Belles carried over the momentum from the fourth set into the decisive frame as Saint Mary's took a 6-2 lead. Kalamazoo responded with four of the next six points as the Belles held an 8-6 lead. Alyssa Chong put down a kill, and Lindsey Pelletier and Morgan VanderWey added kills of their own for an 11-6 lead for the Belles. Saint Mary's continued to find a response for Kalamazoo down the stretch and held at least a four-point margin over the Hornets before ultimately taking the set 15-9 on a Pelletier kill. Saint Mary's hit .500 in the final set while Kalamazoo was limited to a .200 attack percentage.
 
Saint Mary's had 67 kills in the match to Kalamazoo's 55, and the Belles put up 92 digs to the Hornets' 79. The five-set victory for the Belles is the first five-set win since a 3-2 win at home against Adrian in the 2017 season.
 
Lindsey Pelletier had a career-best 21 kills while hitting .462 to lead all players in the match. Megan Collantes had a double-double with 16 kills and 18 digs while hitting .317 and serving up four aces. Nicole Lukens added a double-double with 10 kills and 22 digs. Courtney Pelletier had a match-high 23 digs. Morgan VanderWey tallied 49 assists and 16 digs for the Belles.
 
The Belles (8-8) are back to conference competition on Tuesday, October 8 when they travel to Olivet for a 7:00 p.m. contest.