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Bethel Volleyball Splits First Day of SXU/TCC Crossover

 

Palos Heights, Ill. – Bethel volleyball took a four-match winning streak on the road to take part in first day of the SXU/TCC Crossover event on Friday, and split two matches. In their first match, the Pilots were overwhelmed 25-14, 25-10, 25-17 by the hosts Trinity Christian but bounced back to upset St. Francis (Ill.), receiving votes in the inaugural 2017 women’s volleyball top 25 poll, 25-11, 25-20, 25-14.

 

The Pilots could not find their rhythm early in the first match, falling behind 16-8 and the hosts continued to pour it on to take the 25-14 win. Kassandra Williams (JR/Lafayette, Ind.) and Kristen Mitchell (JR/Indianapolis, Ind.) notched two kills for the Pilots in the first stanza. Five errors offset the five team kills for the visitors from Mishawaka.

 

Trinity Christian continued their dominance on their home court in the second match, jumping out to a 10-1. The Pilots were able to pull within 12-4, but the Trolls never looked back, routing the Pilots 25-10. The Pilots hitting percentage dipped to .071% in the middle set. Williams again provided multiple kills for the Pilots.

 

The Pilots regained the form that saw them win four straight matches in the third set for a brief moment as Payton Anderson (JR/New Castle, Ind.) and Haley Brown (SR/Goshen, Ind.) teamed up to help the Pilots to a 6-4 lead, their largest of the match. The Trolls came back to take a 9-8 lead, and after an Abby Armold (FR/Valparaiso, Ind.) kill to knot the score at 9, TCC rattled off 12 of the next 16 points to take a commanding 21-13 lead. Cassie Sears (SR/Bremen. Ind.) did her best to get the Pilots back in it with consecutive kills but the Trolls finished off the Pilots 25-17 in the deciding set.

 

The Pilots fumbled through 20 attack errors on the match and suffered a .057% hitting percentage. The Pilots were held without a service ace for the first time this season. Anderson, and Armold led the Pilots with 4 kills, while Erin Carlos (SR/Millersburg, Ind.) added 12 digs.

 

“Trinity Christian is a great team,” stated Head Coach Katie Weiss. “Early in the game our systems broke down and we struggled to get back on track.”

The Pilots had a quick turnaround and opportunity to get back in the win column, facing a St. Francis (Ill.) squad that checked in at no. 34 in the preseason top 25 coaches’ poll. The Pilots showed their mettle and resiliency in the match by upsetting the Saints in straight sets.

 

The Pilots wasted no time getting the scoring started, jumping out to a 6-1 lead on a pair of Bridget Downs (SO/Lexington, Ky.) service aces. The Pilots extended their lead to 10-2. The Saints closed the gap to 11-5 but could not get any closer as the Pilots scored seven straight points on Abby Armold serves to take a 23-9 lead, and a Haley Brown attack put the Saints away 25-11 in the opening set.

 

The hot start continued for the Pilots, as they jumped out to a 9-1 lead on eight attack errors by St. Francis. The nationally-recognized Saints were not held down for long and closed the gap to 12-10, before taking a 16-13 lead. Two Erin Carlos service aces and two Cassie Sears kills gave the momentum right back to the Pilots with a 18-17 advantage and Haley Brown put the finishing touches on a close finish with three kills in the final six Pilot points to retain the 25-20 win.

 

The Pilot defense remained strong in the third set, forcing five Saint errors, to the tune of a 9-4 lead early. Dominant attacking by Armold, Brown, and Kathryn Novy (JR/Algonquin, Ill.) extended the lead to 14-7 and a pair of Kassandra Williams kills on assists from Payton Anderson.gave the Pilots an 19-10 lead. The Pilots continued putting pressure on the Saints attack, with four more errors late, and the Pilots took the quasi-upset over the (RV) Saints in straight sets.

 

Haley Brown and Kassandra Williams led the Pilot attack 8 and 7 kills, respectively. Payton Anderson added 20 assists, while Bridget Downs and Erin Carlos provided the defense with 16 and 10 digs, respectively. The Pilots served up 10 aces on the night and improved their hitting percentage from the previous match to .156% in 96 attempts.

 

“We served tough tonight and that paid off,” commented Weiss. “Erin Carlos and Bridget Downs had great defense tonight which gave us the foundation on which we needed to win.”

 

The Pilots sit at 5-3 on the season after splitting Day One of the Crossover event. The Pilots continue Day 2 of the SXU/TCC Crossover in Chicago on the campus of St. Xavier at 1 & 3 pm ET.