Bruins split another double-header

Mikaylah Gillespie had a lot to celebrate with a team-high 34 kills on the day
Mikaylah Gillespie had a lot to celebrate with a team-high 34 kills on the day

ORANGE CITY, Iowa -- For the fourth time in four double-headers the Bellevue University volleyball team split a pair of matches, this time on day two of the Red Raider Classic, hosted by Northwestern College.

The Bruins opened the day by dropping a five-set heartbreaker to Briar Cliff (21-25, 25-21, 18-25, 25-16, 16-18) before rebounding to post a solid four-set win over the host school Northwestern (25-19, 25-19, 23-25, 25-20).

Bellevue (4-4) returns to action on Friday when they host the Premier Labor Day Classic. The Bruins host Cornerstone at 1 p.m. on Court 4 at the Lied Center before playing their first match of the season at the Gordon Lozier Athletic Center against Rocky Mountain at 5:30 p.m. All of the tournament's matches – with the exception of Bellevue's match against Rocky Mountain on Friday – will take place at the Lied Center in Bellevue.

Briar Cliff 3, Bellevue 2 (25-21, 21-25, 25-18, 16-25, 18-16)

Mikaylah Gillespie set career highs in kills and recorded her second-best career hitting percentage (min. 15 attempts) but it wasn't enough to overcome Briar Cliff in the Bruins' first of two Saturday matches. Gillespie totaled 22 kills on 39 attempts with just three attack errors to lead Bellevue with a .487 hitting percentage. The rest of the team combined for just an .095 hitting percentage. Her previous career-high was 16 kills against Dakota State last season.

Joining Gillespie with double-figure kills were Pakalana Helekahi and Hope Lambrecht with 17 and 13, respectively. Helekahi and Squiers both notched double-doubles; Helekahi in kills and digs (10) and Squiers in both assists (54) and digs (14).

Defensively, Bellevue was paced by Taylor Holz's 25 digs while U'i Kepani added 12 and Lauren Colpitts chipped in nine. Lambrecht led the way with five block assists while Gillespie and Squiers each added four. Squiers also had a block solo.

Briar Cliff out-hit the Bruins .196-.177 on the morning but Bellevue out-dug the Chargers 76-72.

The Chargers received a balanced attack with six players contributing eight or nine kills. Emily Sanburg, Teerstyn Johnson, and Katelin Langel led the way with nine while Nicolette Lavulo, Courtney Schafer, and Melissa Ditter all had eight. Laura Berry (23) and Delaney Meyer (17) combined for 40 assists. Breanne Hankins led the defense with 30 digs as Katie Berg added 13.

Bellevue 3, #24 Northwestern 1 (25-19, 25-19, 23-25, 25-20)

Mikaylah Gillespie followed up her career-game with a team-leading and match-high 12 kills while hitting a team-high .308 in the win. She was supported offensively by Pakalana Helekahi (9 kills), Hope Lambrecht (7 kills), and Michaela Gardner (5 kills). Maddie Squiers directed the offense with 36 assists.

Bellevue jumped out to a commanding 2-0 lead before losing a tightly-contested third set – the only set BU didn't out-hit Northwestern – but came back with a strong fourth set to knock off the hosts.

The Bruin defense was anchored again by Taylor Holz and her match-leading 22 digs. Squiers added 12 for her second double-double of the day. Helekahi and Lauren Colpitts each dug nine balls for BU.

Helekahi and Gillespie had a block solo and five block assists each while Lambrecht added seven block assists on the afternoon.

Bellevue out-hit Northwestern .161-.113 for the match and out-dug the Red Raiders 64-59.

Northwestern was led by Jessica Van Beek, Andrea Horstman, and Lauryn Hilger who each reached the 10-kill mark. Van Beek led with 12, Horstman added 11, and Hilger 10. Jessa Doom and Madi Arnell split setting duties finishing with 21 and 14, respectively. Jillian Estes led the defense with 14 digs while Hilger and Brooke Van Gorp each contributed 12.