BILLINGS, Mont. – Emily Patlan and Samantha Weber each had big matches and St. Mary’s University rallied from two games down to defeat Dallas Baptist University in dramatic fashion, 25-30, 23-30, 30-26, 30-17, 15-12, at the Heartland Conference Tournament semifinals, played at Alterowitz Gymnasium Friday night.
After dropping the first two games, and with their season on the line in game three, the Rattlers came out and laid it all on the line. DBU took the early lead, but never led by more than three points. St. Mary’s took control in the middle of the game, going on a 3-0 run to tie the game at 11-11. The teams would trade points for the next 14 serves, leading to seven more tie scores. The Rattlers went on a second 3-0 run to take a 21-18 lead. The Rattlers would hold on to that lead until a 3-0 DBU run late tied things at 25-25. Finally it was St. Mary’s turn to finish the game strong, winning five of the last six points to win game three 30-26.
St. Mary’s took the momentum from game three into game four, winning six straight points to take the early lead at 10-5. Three straight blocks led to a seven-point run and the Rattler lead was at nine, 18-9. DBU never recovered and the Rattlers tied things at two games apiece with a 30-17 win in game four.
Game five was a battle from the start with five ties in the early going. The last tie of the game was at 10-10. Weber and Patlan then produced kills in the next two points and the Rattlers took a three-point lead at 13-10. DBU won two of the next three points to cut the deficit to just two, but Patlan finished things with her 18th kill of the match.
Patlan (Sr., San Antonio), the lone senior on the team saved perhaps her best match for a good time, totaling 18 kills and 20 digs. Weber (Jr., Ft. Lupton, Colo.) had her highest kill total of the season with 27 against just eight attack errors. She also led all players with seven blocks. Laura Sudano (Jr., East Setauket, N.Y.) had a double-double with 14 kills and 10 digs. Sarah Moreno (So., Pearland) was the fourth Rattler with double-digit kills with 11. Courtney Matula (Jr., San Antonio) tied the school record with 69 assists.
Jenny Pry led DBU with 22 kills and 18 digs. Amanda Emmert was the only other Patriot in double figures in kills with 12.
The rally from two games down was just the second time this season that the Rattlers have been down 2-0 and come back to win. The first time was on Sept. 22 at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin.
With the win the Rattlers are now 19-15 this season and move on to the Heartland Conference Championship match against the winner of the St. Edward’s University-Montana State University-Billings match. The championship match will take place on Saturday at 8 p.m. The Patriots finished their season with an 18-16 record. DBU had won 14 of its last 15 matches prior to the tournament.