CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Belmont Abbey established a new season low for opponent hitting percentage for the second straight match and Lydia Sale and Dani Fortunato each reached season highs in kills, leading the Crusaders to a 3-0 (25-17, 25-13, 25-11) victory over Johnson C. Smith Tuesday night at the Bramboy Gym. The win was the eighth straight as BAC improved to 9-8 on the season.
The Golden Bulls (2-9) finished the match hitting -.052, following up a .052 percentage by Emmanuel on Saturday. Sale registered 11 kills in the match, almost doubling her season total of 15 coming in, while Fortunato reached double figures with 10. Cassidy Bonito dished out 14 assists, one more than Gabby Martinez, while Fortunato had a team-best nine digs.
After dropping two of the first three points of the match, Belmont Abbey scored seven in a row with Sarah Kenney serving for an 8-2 lead. The Golden Bulls scored back-to-back points before Emily Rose served the Crusaders to a 13-6 advantage. The lead reached 19-7 before Johnson C. Smith mounted a comeback, cutting the margin to seven several times. However, the Abbey regrouped for a 25-17 victory and a 1-0 lead. For the set, the Crusaders hit, .219, while holding the Golden Bulls to a .000 hitting percentage.
The second set was much more lopsided as Belmont Abbey used a 13-4 run after trailing 3-2 to lead 15-7. After a point for JCS, the Crusaders added a 6-1 run for a 21-9 advantage. Sale closed out the set, 25-13, with a kill.
Belmont Abbey opened a 5-0 lead in the third set, then turned a 10-8 lead into 16-9 on Rose's serve. The Crusaders led 17-10 when they rattled off seven straight points for a 24-10 lead. The Golden Bulls fought off one match point before Belmont Abbey prevailed 25-11.
The Crusaders return to action this weekend with a trip to Barton and Mount Olive, teams they defeated at home earlier in the year. Friday night's action features the top two teams in the Carolinas Conference North Division as the Crusaders are 7-1 in league play, compared to the Bulldogs' 6-1 record.