In a see-saw match, the Belles battled back and forth with the Adrian Bulldogs before ultimately coming up short 3-2 (25-14, 25-11, 23-25, 23-25, 11-15).
The Belles loss (5-10, 3-5 MIAA) marks their fifth in a row.
The first set featured a strong start from Saint Mary's. The Belles jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, and continued to add similar spurts such as a five-point swing to make it 17-10, and coasted to an easy set win, 25-14. The second set saw a bit of back-and-forth between the Bulldogs (5-11, 1-7) and the Belles, with the score at one point standing at 6-5 Adrian. However, the Belles once again relied on some heavy point swings, going on a five-point run that put them up 10-6, and then later in the set breaking things open with a late nine-point run to make the score 23-9 and out of the Bulldogs' reach. The Belles would claim the second set by a score of 25-11.
However, the Bulldogs refused to go down lightly. Despite dropping the first two sets in lopsided fashion, Adrian roared back with two hard-fought 25-23 set victories to tie the match at 2-2. That brought everything to a head for the fifth and final set.
In the beginning of the set both teams traded points, and at one point the Belles were only down 6-4. However, the Bulldogs would once again summon the resolve to go off another run. The Bulldogs scored four of five points to go up 10-5, and then after that stole three of the next five points to go up 13-7. After that, the Belles were unable to mount a rally and fell to the Bulldogs by a score of 15-11.
There were several bright spots individually for the Belles. Junior outside hitter Kati Schneider and sophomore outside hitter Katie Hecklinski both tied for the team lead with 17 kills, while junior libero Meredith Mersits led the team with 25 digs. Freshman setter Clare McMillan led the team with 56 assists.
The Belles return to action on Friday when they take on the Kalamazoo Hornets at home. Game time is set for 7 p.m.