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Belles Fall in Five Sets Against Spartans

Hannah Stacy hits the ball as an opposing player tries to jump and block it.
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Saint Mary's volleyball team came up just short in a 3-2 (19-25, 31-29, 21-25, 25-22, 15-9) against Manchester on Wednesday evening.
The Belles stormed out to a big lead in the first set by winning seven of the first eight points, the last of which was registered by an Allison Thornton kill. The Spartans edged within six points at both 10-4 and 11-5, but Hannah Stacy gave the momentum back to Saint Mary's with a kill. Nicole Lukens and Lindsey Pelletier added a block followed by an attack error and a Lindsey Pelletier kill gave the Belles a 15-5 advantage. Saint Mary's pushed the lead to 20-10 with back-to-back kills by Megan Collantes and a block by Collantes and Thornton. The Spartans made a late-set run to pull within five, but a service error gave the Belles the 25-19 set win.
The second set saw Manchester use some of the late momentum from the first set to build a five-point lead at both 9-5 and 12-7. Saint Mary's continued to chip away at the deficit before knotting the score at 17-17 with back-to-back Hannah Stacy kills and a Manchester error. The Spartans came back with three consecutive points, but the Belles rattled off a 5-1 run to take their first lead at 22-21 with Nola Wallace putting down a big kill. Saint Mary's held a set-point advantage at 24-23 and 25-24, but the Spartans swayed the momentum back in their favor and used a three-point spurt for a 26-25 lead. The two teams continued to go back-and-forth with both sides staving off set-points until a kill and a block by Manchester gave the Spartans a 31-29 win a stanza which featured 12 ties and four lead changes.
The third set was not without its ties as the teams had 11 ties and three lead changes. With the score at 15-15, Allison Thornton had a kill before an attack error gave Saint Mary's a lead they would not relinquish. Manchester edged within a point three times late in the set, but the Belles got a big kill from Lindsey Pelletier and another from Nola Wallace for a 23-20 lead. Back-to-back errors by the Spartans two points later put the Belles up two sets to one with the 25-21 win.
Saint Mary's overcame an early deficit in the fourth set and built a 17-13 lead. A four-point scoring spurt was followed by another four-point run as the Belles out-scored the Spartans 14-6. Manchester, however, responded with a 6-1 run to go ahead 19-18. Nicole Lukens put down a pair of kills late in the set to pull the Belles within 21-20 and 22-21, but Saint Mary's could not string multiple points together late as the Spartans forced a fifth set with a 25-22 win.
Manchester put the first four points on the scoreboard and quickly built a 7-2 lead in the fifth set. The Belles battled off match-point twice with a kill by Hannah Stacy and a block by Nola Wallace and Lindsey Pelletier, but the deficit was too much to overcome as Manchester claimed the win with a 15-9 fifth set decision.
Hannah Stacy had a career-high 14 kills while posting a .278 attack percentage. Nicole Lukens added 14 kills and a team-best 23 digs. Megan Collantes registered 13 kills and 19 digs. Claire Hennessy notched 29 assists, and Morgan VanderWey chipped in 23 assists and 14 digs. Brittney Tarkanyi added 22 digs. Nola Wallace and Lindsey Pelletier each contributed to four blocks for the Belles.

Saint Mary's (4-4) travel to Illinois for a pair of matches on Friday when they face off against Benedictine and host Wheaton starting at 6:00 p.m. CDT.