BELLEVUE, Neb. -- The Bellevue University volleyball team, behind a team effort, came up big when they needed to in order to upend No. 15 Madonna, 3-2, on Friday evening at the Lied Activity Center as part of the Bruin Labor Day Classic.
It took until the fourth before there was a hotly contested set in which the Bruins ultimately prevailed 25-22 to set up a decisive fifth set. Trailing 8-5 as the two teams switched sides of the net, and behind a raucous home crowd the Bruins claimed nine of the next 13 points to grab a 14-13 lead and seize momentum.
A single point by Madonna followed by a service error saw BU take a 15-14 lead with an opportunity to seal the match. After a rally senior Beth Walker set sophomore Rachel Wald who went up for a patented power swing but caught the Crusaders off guard with a soft dump that fell to the floor between three defenders to give the Bruins their second win over a Top 25 team on the season.
Madonna looked dominant in the opening set, claiming a 25-15 victory before BU responded with a convincing 25-16 win in the second set to level the match at 1-1. The match continued its see-saw battle with the Crusaders taking the third set 25-16 and an imposing 2-1 lead in the match.
For the match Bellevue was out-hit .247-.142 but were able to gain a 59-53 edge in digs and making just three service errors, compared with 11 for Madonna.
Three Bruins finished the match with double figure kills, led by Wald's 11 (.320 hitting). Freshmen Marylyn Mozena (.200) and Shayla Scanlan (.100) each tallied 10 kills for the host side. Walker recorded her fifth double-double of the season, finishing with a season-best 47 assists and 16 digs. Sophomore Taylor Holz led the defensive effort with 17 digs while freshman Erin Warren finished with 12. The Bruins also combined for 18 block assists, led by sophomore Mikaylah Gillespie's six and Scanlan's four.
Bellevue (4-5) returns to the court tomorrow for a 5 p.m. match against Montana State-Northern to conclude their participation in the Bruin Labor Day Classic.