Bellmont won Tuesday night's match against Northrop with a delicate tap of a kill by Meg Saalfrank, perfectly lifted over the net so that the ball floated high over the outstretched arms of Northrop's front line but fell right behind them, where no Bruin could reach.
That gave Bellmont (13-4) the win in straight sets, 25-12, 25-16, 25-12, and proved to be the 500th match-winner of coach Craig Krull's career.
“It's pretty amazing. I just told the girls in the locker room, I remember victory No. 1. Girls, you'll be a part of my history,” Krull said. “When I started 171/2 years ago, I never thought I'd get to this point. But no I've got there, now I'm looking forward Thursday to 501. It's a wonderful accomplishment that a lot of people have done, but I'm pleased to be there.”
Bellmont opened up a sizable lead early in the first set, winning eight of the first 10 points. The Braves led by as many as 16 points and with the score 23-7 it seemed as if they would run away with the match. But the Bruins (6-7) dug deep and fought off five set points before Bellmont claimed the first set 25-12.
“I wasn't sure what to expect from Northrop – they have two or three really decent players,” Krull said. “But once we kind of settled in, I thought we did a good job of keeping our level high when there wasn't a lot of cheering and stuff coming from the outside.”
Northrop carried that fight over into the second set, where the two teams remained deadlocked for the first few points. The Bruins even took a 10-7 lead before the Braves went on a 5-0 run to retake the lead for good. Bellmont won four straight points to close out the second set.
The Braves remained hot to start the third set, winning the first six points, and they would stay well in control through the end of the set.
“They kind of got a little sloppy in the second set. We jumped them early in the first set, and in the third set they were like, we're here for business,” Krull said. “It's good to see that the girls are able to rein it back in when maybe they're not playing at their highest level.”
Saalfrank, who recorded the kill in the final point of the match, led the Braves with 12 of them, Avery Ball had nine and Jackie Sutter and Delaney Lawson had eight each. Paige Busick had nine digs and Emma Mills eight. Lauren Ross had 31 assists.