Volleyball Snaps Skid Against Rival Grace
Mishawaka, Ind. – The Bethel volleyball team welcomed Grace College to the Wiekamp Athletic Center on Friday evening and snapped their five-match losing streak with a four-set win in the Crossroads League rivalry. After dropping the first set 18-25, the Pilots rattled off three straight sets 25-23, 25-18, 25-23 to improve to 9-12 overall and 2-6 in the Crossroads League.
Kassandra Williams put the Pilots up 2-0 in the first set on back-to-back kills to start the match but the Lancers (10-6, 5-3) answered back to knot it at 2. The offensive prowess of Haley Brown kept the Pilots in it early with three straight kills to give her team a 7-6 lead. The Lancers took control of the first set with a 14-4 run to take a commanding 20-11 lead. Williams and Brown could not get the Pilots back in the set and fell 25-18.
The Pilots responded in the second set. Coming out of a timeout after falling behind 10-7, the Pilots came back to draw even at 14 and Abby Armold helped the Pilots to their first lead of the set at 15-14. The Lancers responded with three straight points to take a 17-15 advantage and trailed until Armold killed another point for the Pilots to draw even again at 21 apiece. Brown and Payton Anderson handled the closing duties for the Pilots, scoring three of the final four points to tie the match at one set each with a 25-23 victory.
Much like the second set, the Lancers again took a 10-7 lead early in the third set but Armold would not let that hold as she provided multiple kills and Kristen Mitchell got in on the action to give the Pilots a 13-12 lead. Out of a Lancer timeout, the Pilots rattled off a 5-1 run capped by a Mitchell kill to take a 17-13 advantage. After the Lancers closed to within 21-18, the Pilots notched the final four points of the match as Payton Anderson provided the set-winning kill to win 25-18 and take a 2-1 set lead in the match.
The Pilots jumped all over the Lancers in the fourth set, as Kassandra Williams notched back-to-back service aces for a 7-3 lead and extended the lead to 11-6. The Lancers responded to the Pilot firepower by going on a 5-1 run of their own to pull to within 12-11. After giving the Lancers a 17-15 lead, Haley Brown got the Pilots back to 18-18. Neither team would break late in the set, see-sawing the lead until the Pilots grabbed a 23-22 lead on multiple Lancer attack errors. Payton Anderson set up Kristen Mitchell on each of the final two points for the Pilots to win 25-23 and give the Pilots their first match victory since September 8.
The Pilots tallied season-highs of 60 kills, 55 assists, and 84 digs in the match. Haley Brown and Kristen Mitchell led the Pilots with 15 kills each, season-highs for both, while Kassandra Williams added 11 of her own to go along with 3 service aces. Payton Anderson recorded a career-high 49 assists—besting her previous mark of 46 set against Grace last season–while adding 8 kills and a .438 hitting percentage. Erin Carlos led the Pilots with 24 digs, her sixth match of the season with at least 20.
“I’m proud of our victory tonight. We needed it,” stated Head Coach Katie Weiss. “Our defense was tough, our offense was powerful. Payton Anderson did a tremendous job running the court and placing the ball for the hitters.”
The Pilots return to action Saturday afternoon against St. Francis (4-13, 3-4) for a 3:00 pm start in the Wiekamp Athletic Center on the campus of Bethel College. You can find more information on tickets by visiting BethelCollegePilots.com/Tickets.