Belmont Abbey senior Hannah Schellenberg led all players with 27 kills and freshman libero Sarah Kenney posted 22 digs as the Crusaders women's volleyball team defeated King 3-2 before a raucous crowd of 400 this evening inside the Wheeler Center in the conference opener for both teams. Belmont Abbey improves to 5-4 overall and 1-0 in league play, while King drops to 3-6 overall and 0-1 in Conference Carolinas.
In the first home match of the year, the Crusaders won the first two sets by scores of 25-11 and 25-22 before the Tornado rallied back to knot the match at two with wins in sets three and four, winning 25-22 and 25-20. Belmont Abbey broke the stalemate with a 16-14 win in the decisive fifth set.
The Crusaders have now gone to five sets four times in nine matches this year.
The opening set was no contest, as the Crusaders hit a torrid .519 to put the stanza away early, smacking down 15 kills with one error on 27 attacks. The match lead grew to 2-0 as the Crusaders held off a late King charge, winning 25-22.
King battled right back, winning the third set 25-22 and forcing a deciding fifth set with an easy 25-20 win in the fourth.
In the fifth, King surged ahead 4-1 before the Abbey claimed six of the next seven points to move ahead 7-5 and force a Tornado timeout.
After the break, the Crusaders lead surged to 12-8, forcing another timeout by the visitors. King kept within scoring distance of the Crusaders, but the Abbey maintained its lead until King deadlocked the stanza at 14, fighting off two match points to bring the set to a 14-14 stalemate.
Tied at 14, the Crusaders ended it by winning the final two points, coming on a Hannah Schellenberg kill and a King attack error.
Schellenberg led all players with 27 kills on 62 attacks with six errors (.339). She added 17 digs, two service aces, one assist and a block assist. Caitlin Hankins hit .500, recording 11 kills on 18 attacks with two errors. Aimee Cloninger added 11 kills and 11 digs. Coreen Norwood posted nine kills. Gabby Martinez handed out 60 assists and recorded 15 digs.
For the match, Belmont Abbey hit .237 and outdug King 77-69.
The Crusaders are back in action Friday night at 7:00 when it goes on the road to face Emmanuel.