Lourdes won the opening two sets on Friday evening, but Siena Heights rallied to take the final three, defeating the Gray Wolves 24-26, 24-26, 27-25, 25-20, 15-13 at the Fieldhouse in Adrian, Mich.
"This would have been a great win for us," head coach Greg Reitz stated. "Unfortunately for us, we didn't play well enough to earn the win in the match."
The opening set started with a pair of runs as Lourdes scored four straight points to take a quick 6-2 lead. The Saints answered with six of their own to take the lead. A kill by Stef Comte (Toledo, Ohio/Notre Dame H.S.) and a back set by Siena Heights put the Gray Wolves on top 12-11; a lead Lourdes would not relinquish the remainder of the set. The Gray Wolves built a 21-17 advantage, only to have Siena Heights tie the set at 24. A red card to the Saints bench gave Lourdes the lead again though, and an attack error by the Saints closed the opening set.
Set two was just as close as the opener. Lourdes raced out to a 6-1 lead only to have the Saints score six straight of their own to take the lead. Siena Heights extended its advantage to 17-12 before Lourdes fought back. Back-to-back kills by Keyonna Gregory (Holland, Ohio/Springfield H.S.) pulled the Gray Wolves within one, 17-16. A Stephanie Richards (Toledo, Ohio/Perrysburg H.S.) and an attack error by the Saints capped a 9-2 Lourdes run, giving the visitors a 21-19 lead. Siena Heights tied the set three more times, the last at 24, before an Angie Pagan-Perez (Toa Baja, P.R./Bayamon Military Academy) kill and a Comte ace gave the Gray Wolves a 2-0 lead in the match.
Siena Heights came out quick in the third set, scoring the first four points and five of the first six. A Gregory block evened the set at six, but the Saints would not allow Lourdes to take the lead until late in the set. The Gray Wolves would tie the set three more times before finally pulling in front on a ball-handling error, 18-17. Back-to-back attack errors by the hosts put Lourdes on top 22-19, but the Saints scored seven of the last nine points to stay alive in the match.
The two schools would alternate the first 17 points of the fourth set before three straight by the Gray Wolves gave them an 11-8 advantage. After the Saints answered with three of their own, Lourdes scored four of the next five points, all on kills from Richards, to retake a three-point lead. With the Gray Wolves in front 17-14, Siena Heights reeled off six consecutive points, to start an 11-3 run to force a fifth set.
Lourdes took advantage of a pair of attack errors as well as a service error in building a 4-1 lead to start the final set. Four kills and a block over the next eight points by the Saints put the home team in front 8-5 as the teams switched ends of the court. A kill by Gregory stopped the 7-0 run with Siena Heights on top 10-5. The lead would grow to 13-6 Saints before Lourdes looked to rally late. The Gray Wolves scored six straight points, cutting their deficit to one following an attack error. Siena Heights was able to score two of the last three points thought to complete the comeback win, and end Lourdes string of eight straight five-set victories dating back to 2011.
"No team in this conference is going to give us the match," Reitz added. "We have to keep battling throughout and close out the matches."
Gregory led Lourdes hitting .293 for the match with 19 kills and seven digs while Richards added 14 more kills. Pagan-Perez tallied a double-double with 10 kills and 21 digs. Michi Jimenez (Vega Baja, P.R./Juan Quirindongo Morell H.S.) registered a match-high 25 digs while Allegra Recknagel (Lake Orion, Mich./Lake Orion H.S.) handed out 56 assists to go along with her 12 digs. Alyssa Pelish (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic H.S.) also had 12 digs as the Gray Wolves tallied 92 for the match as a team.
Halie Baker led Siena Heights (13-10, 6-2 WHAC) with 17 kills while Nicole Morgan hand a team-best 19 digs.
Lourdes (13-10, 3-5) will return home to Tam-o-Shanter on Wednesday evening for another WHAC battle. The Gray Wolves will entertain Michigan-Dearborn with the first serve slated for 7 p.m.