BELMONT, N.C. -- Belmont Abbey held both Pfeiffer and Fayetteville State to negative hitting percentages, and used a solid offensive attack to take a pair of matches Saturday afternoon at the Wheeler Center. The Crusaders defeated the Falcons and Broncos by 3-0 scores, while Fayetteville State topped Pfeiffer 3-1 to complete the tri-match.
With the victories, the Abbey (12-9, 9-2) has now won 11 of its last 12 matches and kept pace with Barton in the North Division standings, one-half game behind the Bulldogs.
Belmont Abbey continues its non-conference schedule on Tuesday with a trip to UNC Pembroke.
Belmont Abbey 3, Pfeiffer 0 (25-7, 25-13, 25-12)
Belmont Abbey hit a season-high .390, while limiting Pfeiffer to a -.115 percentage, a season low for an opponent as the Crusaders cruised to the Conference Carolinas victory over the Falcons. A total of 13 different Crusaders registered kills, led by Lydia Sale with seven and Mackenzie Chrapliwy with six. Gabby Martinez tallied 15 assists, while Cassidy Bonito added 13. Belmont Abbey had eight aces and four blocks.
Belmont Abbey started out the match on a 3-0 run, then answered a Falcons point with 12 straight points on Rachel Rukab's serve for a 16-1 lead. Pfeiffer tried to rally, closing to within 19-5, but the Crusaders tallied five of the next six points, to set up a 25-7 win in the first set.
Another big run lifted the Crusaders to a second set win. With the score tied, 6-6, Belmont Abbey gained the serve, then Martinez engineered a 6-0 run to expand the lead to 13-6. After the teams traded points to 14-7, Sale continued the serving success, with four straight points, pushing the margin to double digits, 18-8. The Falcons trimmed a 22-10 deficit to 22-13 with three points in a row, but the Crusaders regrouped for the final three points of the set and a 25-13 win.
The third set was closely contested in the early-going. The teams were tied at 6, when Tabitha Sims started a 4-0 run on her serve. Later, with the score 11-7, Brittany Oehlhof served eight straight times, pushing the margin to 18-8. The Crusaders stayed in control, winning 25-12.
Belmont Abbey 3, Fayetteville State 0 (25-21, 27-25, 25-12)
Henriott had 12 kills and Belmont Abbey limited the Fayetteville State to a -0.010 hitting percentage to earn a 3-0 decision over the Broncos. Martinez tallied 18 assists, while Chrapliwy and Kenney led the defensive effort with 12 and 11 digs, respectively.
The Crusaders started the first set on a 5-0 run and led 10-6 when the Broncos mounted a rally. They scored five straight points to take a 14-13 lead, but Belmont Abbey countered with three in a row and never trailed in the set again. Another 3-0 run turned a 16-15 lead into 19-15 and FSU could only pull within two on three occasions after that.
The second set required a late rally from the home team. Neither team held more than a two-point advantage until the Crusaders turned a 16-15 deficit into a 19-16 lead. The margin was four at 21-17 when Fayetteville State used a 4-0 run of its own to tied the match at 21. After the score was even at 22-22 and 23-23, a service error handed the Broncos a set point. But kills by Dani Fortunato and Henriott saved the set, then Henriott registered a kill for a BAC set point, which Kenney served for the 27-25 victory.
The Crusaders opened the third set with seven straight points and never looked back. The lead reached as many as 13 at 20-7 with Marinez serving 11 times alone, including turning a 22-11 lead into 24-11.