Mishawaka, Ind. – The Pilots are still in search of their first Crossroads League win of the season, after dropping three close sets to Spring Arbor to fall 26-28, 24-26, 19-25 on Wednesday evening.
The Pilots fall to .500 overall with the loss at 7-7 and are 0-2 in the Crossroads League. The Cougars improved to 7-7, 1-1.
The Cougars jumped out to an early 5-3 lead in the first set, but the Pilots would fight back to tie it at 11 apiece. Haley Brown (SR/Goshen, Ind.) again brought the score to even two separate times to keep the Pilots in the set. A block by Malerie Mech (SO/Valparaiso, Ind.) and Kathryn Novy(JR/Algonquin, Ill.) gave the Pilots a 21-20 advantage but three straight Pilot errors gave the Cougars a 24-23 lead. The Pilots fought back to take a 25-24 lead but could not finish off the visitors and the Cougars took the overtime set 28-26.
Brown, Mech, and Novy got the Pilots off to a 7-4 start in the second set but the Cougars immediately closed the gap. Payton Anderson (JR/New Castle, Ind.) and Cassie Sears (SR/Bremen. Ind.) combined for three straight kills to push the Pilots lead to 15-11, leading to a Cougar timeout. Out of the timeout, Novy extended the Pilot advantage to 18-12 but the Cougars closed the gap to 19-17. Mech helped the Pilots take a 23-18 lead but could not find the final two points to put the Cougars away, letting them score 8 of the final 9 points to take a 26-24 second set win.
Neither side had more than a two-point lead in the third set until the Cougars three straight points to surge ahead 16-12. The Pilots had one final push in them to get close at 20-17 on a kill from Haley Brown, but the Cougars proved to be too much down the stretch, closing out the match with a 25-19 victory in the third set.
“A very disappointing loss tonight,” commented Head Coach Katie Weiss. “We were scrambling and were not able to take control.”
The Pilots return to the court on Friday for a Crossroads League matchup at Goshen at 7 pm. They return home on Saturday to welcome 22nd-ranked Lourdes University to the Mike Lightfoot court floor in Gates Gymnasium at 3 pm.