Belles ace season start with four wins

Waddington earns 200th win, freshman setter earns conference award

By Alana Edgin
On September 8, 2016

Photo by: Kaitlin Trujillo
Leiyona Young, junior middle blocker, prepares to make a kill. During these games, she racked up 28 points and 21 kills. 

Volleyball dominated their season home opener in the ASU Kathleen Brasfield Invitational by committing three shutouts, four wins and only losing one set Sept. 2-3. It was a big tournament for Head Coach Chuck Waddington, as the win against St. Edward’s became his 200th career win.

In the Belles’ stunning debut, they took down South Dakota School of Mines & Technology (3-0), St. Mary’s University (3-0), St. Edward’s University (3-0) and Regis University (3-1).

Freshman setter Meghan Parker also earned Lone Star Conference’s Setter of the Week.

SDSM&T Hardrockers

Game one of the tournament on Sept. 2 began with the SDSM&T Hardrockers executing a kill. Parker shed the freshman jitters on the court by setting up junior middle blocker Leiyona Young for the first team kill of the season.

Parker and senior outside hitter Mallory Blauser paired up to earn three serving aces, which added a 12-2 scoring streak. The team closed set one at 25-14.

However, Hardrockers were not ready to give into the Belles in the second set. They took an early 3-1 lead and kept the game close until the powerful trio of Blauser, Young and Parker closed the gap. Parker ended the set with a final ace to win 25-19.

The third and final set saw freshman middle blocker Tulani Titley begin with a kill. The teams tied at four until junior middle blocker Morgan gan Seaton, junior right side Abbie Lynn and junior outside hitter Brianna Sotello attacked the Hardrockers with kills that donated to a 10-2 run. Hardrockers closed in, bringing the score to only a three point gap until Titley and Lynn ended it at 25-20 and a 3-0 shutout for the first game of the tournament.

Stat leaders were: Sotello with 12 kills, Blauser with four blocks, Parker with 40 assists and sophomore libero Micheala Sifuentes with 13 digs.

St. Mary’s Rattlers

The Belles came back on Sept. 2 to take on the Rattlers. Still feeling strong after the match against the Hardrockers, the Belles committed their second shutout at 3-0.

Set one saw the Belles shoot off a10-2 streak and hold the Rattlers down by nine points. Sophomore Mallory Davidson, Sifuentes and Sotello took their first of the season aces. Seaton, Parker and Sotello finished the set at 25-11.

Rattlers, however, were not rattled from losing the first set. They came back and started a lead until Sotello and Seaton began rolling in the points. Lynn finished the set off with a 25-20 win.

Blauser started the final set of the night, and the Belles pulled another 10-2 streak, which the Rattlers followed with a 7-1. The score closed in to 24-19 in the Belles favor. The Rattlers dropped an attacking error, which gave the Belles their second win and shutout of the season.

Stat leaders were: Blauser with 12 kills, Sotello with two blocks and 13 digs and Parker with 39 assists.

St. Edward’s Hilltoppers

The tournament continued on Sept. 3 with a 3-0 shutout against the Hilltoppers. This also became Waddington’s 200th career win.

Parker and Lynn began the first set with a well-executed point. The Hilltoppers attempted a lead which was destroyed by Parker, Lynn, Sotello, Seaton and Blauser. A 25-12 set win went to the Belles.

An early lead in the second set brought the Hilltoppers some hope, and they fought to keep the set within five points. Blauser and Lynn ended the set at 25-19.

Set three started off with Parker and Lynn again, with the Hilltoppers pulling themselves to a small lead. Both teams exchanged the lead, but the Belles ultimately won 25-20 to earn their third shutout and win of the season.

Stat leaders were: Sotello with 11 kills, Seaton with four blocks, Parker with 36 assists and Sifuentes with 15 digs. 

Regis University Rangers

For the tournament’s finale, a quarterfinal rematc

h between the Belles and Rangers saw the Belles fight hard to take their fourth win and first place in the tournament. 

Last season the Belles beat the Rangers 3-1, and that was repeated on Sept. 2.

Set one was a breeze for the Belles as they took the set at 25-17 with multiple scoring runs. The Rangers came back in the second to win 25-21, forcing the Belles to play an extra set.

The third set went well for the Belles, who took it at 25-21. The final set had the Rangers in a frenzy that kept fans on the edge until the final point. The Belles finished the set at 25-23. They took first place in the tournament and are on a four game winning streak. 

Stat leaders were: Blauser with 14 kills and five blocks, Parker with 44 assists and Sifuentes with 14 digs. 

The Belles will play in the Colorado Premier Tournament in Denver, Colorado. They will return to the Junell Center on Sept. 16 for their conference opener against Texas Woman’s University at 7 p.m.  

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