Pilots Earn Redemption in Five Sets Against MVNU
Mishawaka, Ind. – The Bethel women’s volleyball team returned to Crossroads League play against Mt. Vernon Nazarene on Tuesday evening and redeemed themselves from an earlier season defeat to win 21-25, 26-28, 25-13, 25-17, 19-17. The Pilots improve to 11-16 overall and 4-7 in the Crossroads League with just seven matches remaining in the regular season.
The Pilots started off the match strong, jumping out to a 4-0 lead over the Cougars (16-12, 4-8) with early kills from Haley Brown and Payton Anderson. The Pilots held a 9-5 advantage on a pair of Kathryn Novy kills when then Cougars made their move, notching the score at 10 apiece. The Pilots and Cougars exchanged the lead until the visitors took it for good at 21-20 and took off for the 25-21 first set win.
The Pilots again got out of the gate quickly with a 9-3 run to open the second set to force a Mt. Vernon Nazarene timeout. The Cougars responded to pull within 12-9 to force a Pilot timeout. Abby Armold tallied multiple kills to extend the lead to 16-11 but the Cougars reeled the Pilots back in to force another timeout with the Pilots ahead 16-15. Kristen Mitchell had kills in three of the Pilots next five points to hold a slim 21-20 lead. The Pilots held off two set points by the Cougars at 23-24 and 24-25 before having a Mitchell gave the Pilots a set point at 26-25. However, the Cougars scored three straight points to take an extended 28-26 second set victory.
With their backs against the wall down 0-2, the Pilots responded in the third set. The Cougars jumped out to a 3-1 lead but Payton Anderson killed an attack and then served the Pilots to five straight points to take a 6-3 lead. Mitchell and Kassandra Williams extended the lead to 12-6 and the Cougars were forced to take a timeout with the score 14-8 in favor of the hosts. The Pilots did not relent, as Anderson and Brown continued the attack and a Mitchell service ace punctuated a 21-9 lead. The Pilots finished off a dominant 25-13 third set win to take a hold of the momentum going into the latter stages of the match.
The Pilots found their stride and rode that momentum in a fourth-set victory, jumping out to a 10-6 lead and forcing a Cougar timeout. The Pilots forced the Cougars into three errors out of the timeout to take a 16-9 lead. After the Cougars got to within 17-13, Kristen Mitchell and Kassandra Williams stemmed the mini Cougar run to keep a 20-14 lead. After a Haley Brown attack gave the Pilots a 22-17 lead, the Pilot pressure forced the Cougars into three errors to get back into the match with a 25-17 fourth-set victory.
Mt. Vernon got off to a quick start in the fifth set, but the Pilots quickly responded as neither team was willing to break. A 6-3 Mt. Vernon Nazarene start forced Head Coach Katie Weiss to call a timeout and the Pilots scored seven of the next ten points to grab a 10-9 lead. The Cougars came back to tie it at 12, but committed two straight errors to give the Pilots two shots at match point. However, the Cougars pushed back defeat to knot it at 14. Back-and-forth the two teams went, trading match point opportunities to see it tied again at 17. Kassandra Williams took control down the stretch, killing the final two points to give the Pilots a thrilling 19-17 match-deciding win in the fith set.
The Pilots recorded a 26.3 hitting percentage with 67 kills in the match, led by Payton Anderson’s career-high 17 kills on a 52.0 hitting percentage. Anderson also added 36 assists in the match—her fourth match with at least 34. Kristen Mitchell and Haley Brown were also dominant with 14 and 13 kills, respectively. Erin Carlos finished with 22 digs, while Kassandra Williams continued her dominance on the defensive front with 10 total blocks as the Pilots totaled 29 as a team on the evening.
The Pilots return to the hardwood of Mike Lightfoot Court in the Gates Gymnasium of the Wiekamp Athletic Center on Friday at 7pm and Saturday at 3pm with matches against (RV) Indiana Wesleyan and No. 25 Marian, respectively.