Spring Arbor, Mich. – The Bethel women’s volleyball team took on Spring Arbor in Crossroads League play on Wednesday night and rallied from an 0-2 deficit but could not complete the comeback in the fifth set. The Pilots had five chances at match point in the final set but fell 18-16. The Pilots fall to 12-18 overall and 5-9 in the Crossroads League with four matches left in the regular season.

The Cougars (9-19, 3-12) never trailed in the first set, jumping out to a 7-3 lead early. The Pilots pulled to within 11-9 on a Haley Brown(SR/Goshen, Ind.) kill but would not get any closer as the Cougars extended their lead to 18-12 before finishing off the Pilots 25-15 for the first set win.

The Pilots took a 4-2 lead in the second set on a Bridget Downs (SO/Lexington, Ky.) service ace but the Cougars responded with a 10-4 run to recapture a 12-8 lead. Kassandra Williams (JR/Lafayette, Ind.) knotted the score at 12-12 on a kill from Payton Anderson (JR/New Castle, Ind.) but the Cougars pushed their lead back to 17-13. The see-saw affair continued, with Haley Brown and Kristen Mitchell (JR/Indianapolis, Ind.) tying the score at giving the Pilots a 22-21 advantage, respectively. After a service error gave the Pilots a 23-22 lead, the Cougars finished off the set with three straight points to take a two-sets-to-none advantage in the match.

The Pilots began their comeback with a 4-1 lead early in the third set but surrendered the lead after being tied 9-9 with a 4-0 Cougar run to jump in front 13-9. The Pilots fought back to tie it at 14 on Haley Brown‘s attack and grabbed the lead for good on three straight attack errors on the Cougars to make it 20-17. Bridget Downs added another service ace and Malerie Mech (SO/Valparaiso, Ind.) and Kristen Mitchell provided kills down the stretch to get back into the match with a 25-19 third set victory.

The Pilots seized the momentum in the fourth set, jumping in front 10-5 and extended the advantage to 15-8 on an Emmy Morey service ace. The Pilots continued to attack the Cougars as Haley BrownKristen MitchellAbby Armold (FR/Valparaiso, Ind.), and Kassandra Williams added five kills combined to stretch the lead to 21-13 and Williams put the finishing touches on a dominant offensive set with a kill for a 25-14 win.

In the deciding set, the Cougars raced out to a 6-2 lead and held a four-point advantage at 9-5 before the Pilots made a run of their own. Bridget Downs started a 4-0 run to tie it at nine. After Spring Arbor regained an 11-10 lead, the Pilots reeled off four straight, as Kassandra WilliamsHaley Brown, and Payton Anderson all provided kills, to give the Pilots three straight shots at match point. The Cougars, celebrating senior night, would not be denied and responded to tie it at 14. Kassandra Williams and Haley Brown gave the Pilots two more opportunities at match point at 15-14 and 16-15, respectively, but the Cougars rallied every time. With the score knotted at 16, the Pilots committed two straight attack errors to give the Cougars an 18-16 win and take the match 3-2.

Haley Brown led the Pilots with 16 kills, while Kassandra Williams added 13. Payton Anderson notched 30 assists, while Erin Carlos(SR/Millersburg, Ind.) dug 23 balls. Katie Easter (JR/Logansport, Ind.) provided 13 assists and 13 digs in the match.

“Frustrating loss tonight,” stated Head Coach Katie Weiss. “Our girls waited too long to battle. We have a lot to learn from this game and what that says about us as a team.”

The Pilots return to Crossroads League action next Wednesday with a home match against Taylor at 7:00 pm in the Gates Gymnasium.