Rocklin, Calif. – The Bethel volleyball team evened their season record with a five-set marathon win over Life Pacific (Calif.), 22-25, 25-18, 24-26, 25-17, 15-11. The Pilots finished up the Warrior Invitational, hosted by William Jessup, winning two matches while dropping two over the course of the past two days.
The first set began with the Warriors of Life Pacific taking the first two points before multiple errors by Life Pacific and a kill by Abby Armold(FR/Valparaiso, Ind.) gave the Pilots a 3-2 advantage early. Back-and-forth went the two teams until the Warriors established a 14-11 lead which forced a Bethel timeout. Coming out of the timeout, Armold gave the Pilots momentum with a couple of service aces to pull back to a 15-15 deadlock. It was never more than a two-point difference the rest of the set when the Warriors scored the final four points for a 25-22 first set win.
The Pilots came out of the gates early in the second set as Katie Easter (JR/Logansport, Ind.) led off with a service ace and Haley Brown(SR/Goshen, Ind.) added mutliple kills to take a 10-5 lead. Brown and Abby Falcone (FR/Sellersburg, Ind.) continued the strong play to extend the lead to 20-13 and the Pilots polished off the second set with a 25-18 win.
Kristen Mitchell (JR/Indianapolis, Ind.) and Payton Anderson (JR/New Castle, Ind.) continued to pace the Pilots in the third set and led 15-11. With the Pilots leading 24-20 in the third set, the Warriors stormed back to score the final six points to take the hard-fought 26-24 win.
The Pilots responded in the fourth set as Armold tallied back-to-back kills to give the Pilots an 8-4 advantage. The Warriors came back to within 11-9 on multiple service aces. Armold took over for the Pilots with four of the final six points to finish off a solid 25-17 win.
The decisive fifth and final set found both teams tied at 7 until a 5-1 Pilot run was punctuated by a Mitchell service ace to give a commanding 12-8 lead in the race to 15. A service error by the Warriors gave the Pilots the fifth set and the match.
The Pilots tallied 47 kills and had 18 service aces on the day. Katie Easter paced the team with 20 assists while Abby Armold and Kristen Mitchell led the attack with ten kills each. Erin Carlos (SR/Millersburg, Ind.) continues padding her NAIA lead in digs with 20.
“The team dug deep and fought hard to win against Life Pacific,” stated head coach Katie Weiss. “It was a good win for us. I’m thankful for the depth of our team to draw from, and the attitudes that go along with it.”
The Pilots return home on Tuesday for their home opener against Trinity International at 2:30 pm in the Wiekamp Athletic Center in Mishawaka.