BELMONT, N.C. -- Cassidy Bonito dished out a career-high 21 assists and had seven kills with a .429 hitting percentage to lead Belmont Abbey to a 3-1 (25-18, 21-25, 25-17, 25-22) victory over Mount Olive Saturday afternoon at the Wheeler Center. The win was the fifth straight for the Crusaders, who improve to 6-8 overall, 5-1 in Conference Carolinas.
Aimee Cloninger led the way with 16 kills, while four players tallied at least 15 digs. Leah Gunter led the effort with 21, while Mackenzie Chrapliwy and Alexandra Henriott tallied 19 each. Cloninger added 15.
In the opening set, Belmont Abbey trailed 16-14 before seizing the momentum. A 3-0 run gave the Crusaders the lead, then they broke an 18-18 tie with the final seven points of the set. The Trojans (7-6, 2-2) evened the match at one set apiece with a 25-21 victory in set 2, breaking a 15-15 tie with a 7-2 run. The Abbey rallied to 23-21, but UMO gained two final kills to pull even.
Nine straight points, including eight on Gunter's serve midway through the third pushed a 13-10 lead to 22-10 and lifted the Crusaders back in front and set up a comeback in the fourth for the win. Belmont Abbey trailed 21-18, but back-to-back points started a 7-1 surge that closed out the match.
The Crusaders continue their homestand on Wednesday night when they welcome preseason league favorite Erskine to the Wheeler Center. The start time is 7 p.m.