BANNER ELK, N.C. -- Coreen Norwood hit .357 with 14 kills and Alexandra Henriott added a dozen kills to lead Belmont Abbey to a thrilling 3-2 victory over Lees-McRae Wednesday night. The game scores were 25-22, 26-28, 25-21, 14-25, 15-11 as the Crusaders won their third straight.
In the decider, Belmont Abbey broke a 3-3 tie with four straight points, then earned three of the final four scores in a 15-11 clincher. The final kill came appropriately from Norwood.
Gabby Martinez had 25 assists, while Cassidy Bonito added a career-best 22. Sarah Kenney had 23 digs, while Martinez and Mackenzie Chrapliwy each tallied 13.
Belmont Abbey (4-8, 3-1) was down 9-8 in the opening set when it rattled off six straight points on Gabby Martinez' serve to lead 14-9. The lead was cut to four at 21-17 when back-to-back points gave BAC at 23-17 lead, but the Bobcats (4-7, 2-1) tallied three straight to make the score 23-20. A kill by Coreen Norwood set up set point, but Lees-McRae fought off two chances until another Norwood kill made the final score 25-22.
The Crusaders started set No. 2 on fire, breaking a 2-2 tie with three straight points. After the Bobcats answered to 5-4, four consecutive points on Alexandra Henriott's serve gave the Crusaders a six-point lead. The margin was maintained to 15-9 when Lees-McRae rallied. The Bobcats scored four in a row to close to 15-13.
After Belmont Abbey rebuilt the lead to 19-15, Lees-McRae tallied another 4-0 run to knot the set at 19-19 all, then scored three of the next four for a 22-20 lead.
The Abbey tied the set at 22, then the teams split the next eight points, with Lees-McRae finally breaking the streak for 28-26 win. It marked the 10th time this season that a Crusader set needed extra points to be decided.
The tight contest did not deter the Crusaders in the third. They broke an 8-8 tie with four straight points, then answered back-to-back points by L-M with another three in a row to lead 15-10. The margin stayed at five until 22-17, when the Bobcats gained another two points. A timeout settled the team just enough as a service error and pair of kills by Chrapliwy led to a 25-20 win.
In the fourth set, the teams were tied at 12 when Lees-McRae scored four straight to lead 16-12, forcing the Crusaders into another timeout. The run continued to 19-12 when a second timeout was needed. The momentum continued to 21-12, lifting the Bobcats to a 25-14 victory and a deciding fifth set.
Belmont Abbey returns home this weekend for conference matches against Barton and Mount Olive. Start times Friday and Saturday are 7 p.m. and 3 p.m., respectively.