FORT WAYNE––It took three points for the Squaws of Bellmont to regroup from their sluggish start, but after the Bishop Luers Lady Knights gave up their serve, the Bellmont netters had Luers in their rear view mirror the rest of the way to sweep them three games to none.
The Squaws took nine of the next twelve points to take a 9-6 lead in the first game on the steady play of Bellmont's team play. Squaws coach Craig Krull commented after the match, "We had a slow start. We missed a practice on Saturday and the atmosphere just felt off a little in the gym. We found our stride and started playing like a unit."
Coach Krull was referring to the overall talent of his squad as they play better together with no one or two dominant players like past Bellmont teams have boasted. One player did stand out on the attack for the Squaws, however, as senior Payton Schultz continues to lead her team in the right direction at the right time.
"Payton is great for us in the middle. She knows her role there and does it well," coach Krull pointed out. The Squaws took the first game, 25-14.
Bellmont also played great defense minimizing the damage done by Luers' star senior, 6'3" Ave Stout who finished the game with two aces, four blocks, but only six kills. "We figured she was going to get hers," the coach Krull stated. "She actually had an off night and we took advantage of that by shutting the other Luers players down."
The second game started exactly the opposite for the Squaws as they took the first three points but then surrendered nine out of the next twelve to the Lady Knights. Bellmont responded by breaking the trend and scoring five straight points after that and never surrendered the lead again. They finished the second game, 25-20.
The final game was tight at the start but after 3-3, again it was the Squaws who took command and put the game out of reach with great team play finishing the match out 25-15.
Schultz led the way with 11 kills, three aces, three digs, two solo blocks, and two assisted blocks in the middle. Her fellow seniors also paved the way for the Squaws with Steph Shoup posting 19 assists, two aces, and four digs; Allison Gutierrez hoisting 18 digs and four aces at the libero position; Erin Hunter with three aces and six digs; and Melissa Mailand producing three kills and one assisted block. The sophomore Hankenson twins each produced three kills with Holly also getting an ace and seven digs, while Bailee had two aces, three digs, and two assisted blocks. Freshman Janaya Wilder rounded out the balanced attack by producing one kill, four digs, and an assisted block.
The Squaws will take their 13-4 record back home tonight to take on East Noble and also prepare for a battle against conference nemesis Carroll (also at home) on Thursday night.
Melissa Mailand: 3 kills, 1 assisted block
Payton Schultz: 11 kills, 3 aces, 3 digs, 2 solo blocks, and 2 assisted blocks
Holly Hankenson: 3 kills, 1 ace, and 7 digs
Bailee Hankenson: 3 kills, 2 aces, 3 digs, and 2 assisted blocks
Erin Hunter: 3 aces and 6 digs
Allison Gutierrez: 4 aces and 18 digs
Janaya Wilder: 1 kill, 4 digs, and 1 assisted block
Steph Shoup: 19 assists, 2 aces, and 4 digs