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FORT WAYNE—A 48-game conference winning streak came to an end on Thursday night at Carroll as the Squaws fell to the Lady Chargers in a five-set gem that lived up to the pre-game billing.
Bellmont stumbled out of the gate losing the first two sets before finding life in set three and squeaking out set four, only to let the fifth and deciding set slip through their fingers 25-21, 25-21, 25-10, 25-23, 15-11.
In the Craig Krull era at Bellmont, the Squaws were 50-1 in the NHC entering the hostile environment of the Chargers’ gym. The only loss under Krull in the conference…Carroll in the coach’s first season at the helm.
On Thursday night, it was all Carroll for the entire first set and most of the second before the Squaws found any semblance of flow to their offense.
“It was the same situation we found ourselves in Tuesday night against East Noble where we found ourselves down 2-1 heading into the fourth set,” coach Krull noted. “We decided to play in the third game. I just don’t understand why we can’t come out with that intensity up front.”
Bellmont got down early in a 4-0 hole before finally getting on the scoreboard on a missed Charger serve. Krull would take his first timeout of the match at 8-2. For the rest of the first set, Bellmont would try to play catch up with the home team but the front line of Carroll made life difficult sending shot after shot back to the Squaws with blocks. The Chargers would finish with 10 points in the match off of blocked shots.
Bellmont brought the score to within two points at 11-9 on a Janaya Wilder ace to cap a 7-4 run. Wilder would ace Carroll again a few points later followed by a Bailee Hankenson block at the net to tie the score at 14-14. Another tie at 15-15 was followed by a 4-0 Charger run and a Bellmont timeout. The Squaws would not recover from the run dropping the first set.
In set two, the Squaws earned their first lead of the match at 1-0, then dropped the next four points to fall behind once again. Clawing back were the Squaws down 9-8 but it was the closest they would come when Carroll went on another run going up 18-11. During the run, Carroll earned a point by denying Bellmont at the net with seven blocks in one volley with the last one sent straight down for a point then the set eventually.
Coach Krull would mix it up to get something to flow in the third set. It worked like a charm for set three.
“We went with a different lineup in the third game and by the time I was trying to figure out where people were supposed to play we were up nine points so I just sat back and let them play.”
The Squaws thoroughly dominated the third set leading at one point 8-2, then as much as 17-5 before closing out 25-10. A big part of the success in set three was Bellmont joining the block party. Carroll got a taste of their own medicine when the Squaws supplied eight of their 13 blocks in the contest in the dominant third set including five of the first seven points ending in blocked shots.