BELMONT, N.C. -- Belmont Abbey rallied to force a fifth set, then gained one match point before King answered for a hard-fought 3-2 (19-25, 25-22, 25-21, 22-25, 16-14) victory over the Crusaders Friday night at the Wheeler Center. The teams were even on the night in points with each team totalling 107 points.
Senior Aimee Cloninger led four players with double-doubles, tallying 15 kills and 13 digs. Alexandra Henriott had 14 kills and 12 digs, while Mackenzie Chrapliwy totalled 12 kills and 21 digs. Senior Gabby Martinez dished out a team-high 26 assists to go along with 16 digs.
After falling behind 7-0 in the fifth and deciding set, the Crusaders (13-10, 9-3) rallied for a 14-13 advantage. They had trailed 13-10 when Tabitha Sims engineered a 4-0 run on her serve. But the tornado evened the match at 14, then got two Belmont Abbey hitting errors to steal the victory.
The Crusaders captured the first set on the heels of eight straight points midway through. King held a 7-4 lead when the Crusaders scored four straight to take the lead. Later, with the teams tied 10-10, the Abbey rattled off eight in a row on Martinez' serve, creating enough space for a 25-19 victory.
The second set went to King with a late rally. The Abbey led 21-19 when the Tornado scored three straight points. After Belmont Abbey tied the score at 22, King added another three in a row to take even things at 1 set apiece. The Tornado broke an 11-11 tie in the third with back-to-back points, then gradually pulled away for a 25-21 win.
In the fourth, Belmont Abbey trailed 20-19, but scored three in a row to move ahead. King tied things up at 22-22 before Cloninger and Chrapliwy had kills to set up a 25-22 victory.
Belmont Abbey continues its weekend homestand tomorrow with a tri-match. It begins at 2 p.m. with a conference matchup against Lees-McRae and concludes with a 6 p.m. non-conference tilt against Augusta. In between, the Bobcats and Jaguars will square off.