STAB volleyball rallies twice for win

St. Anne’s-Belfield’s volleyball team, clearly, doesn’t think it’s out of it until the game is over.

It took two big late-game rallies, but STAB managed to sweep Trinity Episcopal in the League of Independent Schools tournament quarterfinals Tuesday night, winning 3-0.

The Saints stormed back from a 17-22 deficit in game one to win 25-22, then, after a dominant game two win, repeated the game one feat, rallying again from 22-17 down to pull off a 25-23 victory.

Each time, the Saints managed to minimize their errors down the stretch after digging themselves a hole early, increasing their aggressiveness in the closing points.

“The girls have definitely improved on broken plays this season—they’re moving together,” said STAB coach Stacey Gearhart. “They’re a little bit less fearful on attacking broken plays.”

The Saints got solid nights from Morgan Thacker — seven digs, four kills — and Rae Long — five kills, two aces. Andrea Baellow also got in on the act with four digs and a trio of aces.

Nikkita Briones did a solid job as one of two setters for the Saints in the squad’s 6-2 system, newly implemented for this year. Briones, who was a rightside hitter last season, made the conversion to setter in late July at team camp and has been solid in the role, giving the Saints a versatile threat on the floor at all times.

“She’s grown a lot this season and I look forward to two more years with her,” Gearhart said.

STAB’s season-long improvement can be tracked just in games against Trinity Episcopal. The Saints were swept 3-0 in the squads’ first meeting, then won late in the regular season 3-0 before Tuesday’s sweep.

Next up, the Saints face St. Catherine’s on the road at 5 p.m. today.