After a successful 3-1 weekend with wins against BlufftonWaynesburg and Defiance, the Saint Mary’s College Belles took on the Trine Thunder at home on Tuesday at the Angela Athletic Facility.
The first set began slowly for our Belles with Coach Van de Walle’s young starting lineup. Saint Mary's started just one junior alongside two sophomores and a trio of freshmen. They went down 5-2 early in the set. However, a passionate rally brought the Belles back into the game, with a back-and-forth battle ensuing.
Trine would emerge victorious, taking the set 25-20, with their notably larger and energetic bench as well as their proficiency in the spike overwhelming the Belles. The second set brought another intense exchange. Several hotly contested points saw players diving across the floor to record digs or save a point. No one team could pull away as the fight continued, and there was a palpable energy of competition and grit on the court.
Again, though, the Trine Thunder prevailed on the margins. Battles around the net ultimately did the Belles in once more. The Thunder broke the 24-24 deadlock with a 26-24 victory, with the Belles making vital mistakes in the end.
The final set brought the last tight battle of the night, with yet another back-and-forth exchange. Jubilant celebrations on both benches and intense communication between players further enhanced a tense atmosphere. The Belles found themselves trailing 17-11, but stormed back to tie it — only to go down in a 3-0 sweep with a 21-18 score. While Trine did sweep the match, each set was a viciously even brawl that could have swung the Belles’ way.
Grace Braselton, a freshman from Grand Rapids, Michigan, led Saint Mary's throughout the night. Her presence at the front of the net was an anchor for the Belles defensively and a crucial weapon offensively. She efficiently notched seven kills on just 16 total attacks. Junior Colleen McCarthy led the squad on kills with nine. However, Trine boasted a better hitting percentage, notching five more kills than the Belles to help them close out the victory. They also added 10 service aces to just three from the hosts.
Saint Mary’s will work to correct the issues this game presented before they head off to the MIAA/NCAC Crossover Tournament this weekend. The Belles look to get back in the win column with the first match of the tournament on Friday at 5:30 p.m. against DePauw.