BELMONT, N.C. -- Junior Alexandra Henriott recorded her third double-double of the season with 10 kills and a season-high 23 digs while Mackenzie Chrapliwy and Hannah Dubas also reached double figures in kills, lifting Belmont Abbey to a thrilling 3-2 victory over Erskine, 27-29, 25-20, 25-20, 21-25, 15-9 Wednesday night at the Wheeler Center.
The win was the sixth straight for the Crusaders, who improve to 7-8 overall and 6-1 in Conference Carolinas play. Erskine, the two-time defending league champion, falls to 6-7, 3-2 in the league.
Chrapliwy tallied 11 kills and added 10 digs, while Dubas registered 10 kills and a .381 hitting percentage. Gabby Martinez paced the offense with 25 assists, leaving her just three shy of 3,000 for her career. Cassidy Bonito dished out 16 assist and added four kills for a .500 hitting percentage.
Martinez started the deciding fifth set with three straight points, helping the Crusaders build a 7-2 lead early on. The Flying Fleet closed the gap to 7-4 with back-to-back points but The Abbey stretched the lead by to four, at 10-6. After an EC point, the Crusaders scored two of their own for a 12-7 lead. Belmont Abbey took the final three points -- two on Martinez' serve -- for the 15-9 victory.
Belmont Abbey started the match with four straight points, but Erskine answered for a 7-6 lead. With the score 12-11, the Flying Fleet used a 4-2 run for a three-point lead, 16-13. The margin went to 19-15 before the Crusaders rallied. A 4-0 run evened the set at 19-19, then the teams traded six straight points -- Erskine first -- before Belmont Abbey earned set points at 24-23 and 25-24. But the Flying Fleet recovered, tying the game at 27, then taking the final two points for a 29-27 win.
After the Crusaders scored the first two points of the second set, Erskine tallied nine of the next 10 points for a 9-3 lead. But the Crusaders clawed back with a 5-1 run to trail 10-8. The Flying Fleet stretched the advantage to 16-13 when the Crusaders rallied again, scoring four of the next five to even the set at 17-all. Erskine earned back-to-back points for a 19-17 lead When The Abbey surged ahead. A 3-0 run turned into 8-1, evening the match at one set apiece, 25-20.
In the third set, Belmont Abbey opened at 2-0 and later built a 6-3 lead before the Flying Fleet challenged. It took an 8-7 advantage, but the Crusaders struck right back with three in a row. A 5-2 spurt built the lead to 16-12, then back-to-back points at 16-12 pushed the lead to six, 20-14. Chrapliwy closed out the set 25-20 with a kill, putting the Crusaders up two games to one.
Erskine forced the deciding set early in the fourth, using a 5-1 run to break a 7-7 tie. Belmont Abbey closed to within one at 16-15, but could never get closer. The Flying Fleet led by a pair five times after that and posted a 25-21 victory to knot the match score at 2-2.
Belmont Abbey continues its homestand on Friday night when it welcomes Emmanuel to the Wheeler Center. The Homecoming weekend action begins at 7 p.m.