SALISBURY, N.C. -- Belmont Abbey overcame an early morning departure and slow start Saturday, but earned a split of two matches to finish 2-1 at the 2017 Catawba Invitational. The Crusaders defeated tournament hosts Catawba 3-1 (20-25, 25-18, 25-22, 25-15) before falling 3-1 (25-27, 25-20, 25-18, 25-16) to Montevallo immediately afterwards.
Cassidy Bonito followed up her career-high, 45-assist performance with 81 more in Saturday's action. Mackenzie Chrapliwy totalled 20 kills, while Brianna Morgheim added 19 kills. Lexi Henriott chipped in 17 kills as well.
Belmont Abbey 3, Catawba 1 (20-25, 25-18, 25-22, 25-15)
After returning to campus late Friday night, the Crusaders departed for Salisbury at 6:30 a.m. and dropped the opening set to the hosts, 25-20. However, they stormed back by scoring five of the first six points in set No. 2 and never trailed in evening the match at 1-1. In the third set, The Abbey trailed 21-17 but scored seven straight points enroute to the 25-22 victory, then broke a 5-5 tie in the fourth set with five straight points to seize control.
Henriott had 16 kills in the match, hitting .371, while Bonito hit .412 with nine kills and 41 assists. The Crusaders held Catawba to a .058 hitting percentage as a team, registering nine blocks.
Montevallo 3, Belmont Abbey 1 (25-27, 25-20, 25-18, 25-16)
Playing for the tournament title, the Crusaders came out strong in the opening set, rallying from a 24-22 deficit to steal a 27-25 victory. However, The Abbey ran out of steam after that, dropping the next three games.
The Falcons scored the final four points of set No. 2 to even the match, then used big runs in the middle of the next two sets to take the victory.
Chrapliwy and Morgheim each tallied 10 kills in the match, while Bonito added another 40 assists to her total. The Crusaders hit a respectable .202 in the match, but saw Montevallo connect at a .321 clip.
"Watching our team compete at a high level and continue to grow and get better everyday is a true joy," Head Coach Tony Elyea said. "Coach Nolan, our captains and I could not be more proud of how we competed at the regional level this weekend. We know what we need to work on and we are looking forward to getting back in the gym on Monday."
Belmont Abbey returns to action on Tuesday with a trip to Augusta for a non-conference matchup.