Women's Volleyball

Crusaders rally past Bobcats in conference clash

Crusaders rally past Bobcats in conference clash

BELMONT, N.C. --- The Belmont Abbey College women's volleyball team was forced to rally in each set, battling for every point while riding a 16-3 third-set run to a hard-fought 3-0 victory over Lees-McRae College in Conference Carolinas play on Tuesday evening.

Belmont Abbey (9-3, 3-1 CC) won the match by scores of 25-16, 25-22, and 25-9, posting a hitting percentage of .258 while Lees-McRae (1-16, 0-5 CC) tallied 34 digs and 22 kills in the contest. The Crusaders combined for 37 smashes and 39 digs on the night.

Jordan Banta (Virginia Beach, Va.) paced the Bobcats with six kills, as Haydn Beatty (Norman, Okla.) and Haylee Leonard (Wallburg, N.C.) each added five smashes. Banta and Molly Corhn (Hendersonville, N.C.) both tallied seven digs, while Candace Niemiec (Huntington Beach, Calif.) chipped in a match-high 19 assists. Leonard, Angela Morse (Clinton Township, Mich.) and Avalon Liscio (Naples, Fla.) each posted a pair of blocks.

Hannah Schellenberg led the way for Belmont Abbey with 12 kills and a .550 attacking percentage, adding 10 digs for a double-double. Tori Jensen and Lydia Schellenberg chipped in nine and eight kills, respectively, as Ana Maria Pagan posted 10 digs. Abby Stine and Gabby Martinez tallied 17 and 13 assists, respectively.

The Bobcats jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the first set before the Abbey responded with a 12-4 run, claiming a 12-8 advantage on a smash from Caitlin Hankins. Lees-McRae quickly answered with another 4-0 spurt, evening the tally at 12-12 following a Lauren Fox (Garland, Texas) service ace. Belmont Abbey would counter with an 8-3 stretch, taking a 20-15 lead before capping the set with back-to-back blocks from Hankins.

Lees-McRae responded in the early moments of the second, claiming a 7-3 advantage on a smash from Beatty. The Abbey answered with a 13-7 run, taking a narrow 16-14lead following a Hannah Schellenberg kill.

Belmont Abbey would push the margin to 21-16 with a 5-2 spurt before the Bobcats countered, closing the gap to 23-21 following an emphatic kill by Leonard. The Crusaders replied with two of the next three points, capping the set and taking a 2-0 lead in the match with a smash from Claire Lang.

The Bobcats fought back once again, opening the third set with a 5-3 run before Belmont Abbey responded with a 16-3 surge to claim a 19-8 advantage. The Crusaders would hold on from there, closing out the frame and the match with a 4-1 spurt that included a perfectly timed solo block by Liscio.

Lees-McRae returns to the court on Friday when the Bobcats travel to Bristol, Tenn. to take on King College in league play at 7 p.m.

- LMC -