Marian Stifles Pilots’ Upset Bid
Mishawaka, Ind. – The Bethel women’s volleyball team hosted the No. 25 Marian Knights on Saturday afternoon in their quest for a second-straight upset bid, after upending (RV) Indiana Wesleyan the night before. However, the Knights came away with a 22-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-15 four-set victory to turn back the Pilots, who now stand at 12-17 overall and 5-8 in the Crossroads League.
The Pilots jumped all over the Knights (23-3, 13-1) early, getting out to a 8-3 lead on back-to-back Bridget Downs service aces to force an early Knight timeout. The Pilots extended their lead to 15-8 on a kill by Haley Brown and the Knights took another timeout to try to cool down the Pilots. The Knights slowly whittled away at the lead, jumping back into it at 21-17, but after a Pilot timeout, Kassandra Williams took the Pilots to victory with kills on the final three points to notch a 25-22 win.
The Pilots again forced the Knights into an early timeout with an 8-3 lead in the second set, as Downs served the Pilots to four straight points. Williams helped the Pilots extend the lead to 14-6, but the Knights would not be held back long and went on an 11-1 run to seize a 17-15 advantage. Brown finished an attack to keep the Pilots within 21-17 but the Knight offense overpowered the Pilots down the stretch to take the 25-21 victory and even the match at 1-1.
Neither team budged in the third set, as the score was never more than a point apart until the Pilots took a 14-12 advantage. The Knights answered with three consecutive to take a 15-12 lead. Williams and Brown blocked a Marian attack to knot the score back at 18-18. Marian continued their pressure offensively down the stretch, taking a 23-20 lead. After Brown and Mitchell killed consecutive points to pull within one, the Knights finished off the set with a 25-22 win.
The Knights did not wait to put away the Pilots in the fourth set, jumping out to a 7-2 lead. A Brown kill led a Pilot run that tied it at 10-10, but it did not discourage the Knights, extending the lead right back to 15-11. Out of a Pilot timeout, the Knights pushed the advantage to 20-13 on several attack errors by the Pilots and the precision hitting of the visitors of Indianapolis stifled any shot of a potential upset, closing out the 25-15 match-deciding set win.
Haley Brown and Kassandra Williams led the Pilots with 13 kills apiece, while Payton Anderson notched her third straight match with at least 30 kills, finishing with 37. Abby Armold tallied 7 blocks for the Pilots.
The Pilots hit the road for a Crossroads League matchup at Spring Arbor at 7:00 pm on Wednesday evening.