San Antonio – Sarah and Holly Moreno combined for 27 kills and five blocks, helping St. Mary’s University rally past Texas A&M International-University, 19-25, 25-22, 20-25, 25-19, 16-14, in Heartland Conference volleyball action Saturday afternoon at Bill Greehey Arena.
Sarah Moreno (Sr., Pearland) led all players with 14 kills and four blocks, while younger sister Holly (Fr., Pearland) had 13 kills, six digs and two service aces. Kirsten Chapman (Fr., Jourdanton) was also strong Saturday afternoon, picking up 11 kills and seven blocks. Valerie Teter (Sr., San Antonio) led the defensive effort with 28 digs. Kori McCarver (So., San Antonio) took over as setter on Saturday and had 46 assists, eight digs, seven kills, three blocks and two service aces.
The Dustdevils took the early lead and never lost it in a 25-19 win in the first set. After picking up just seven kills in the first set, the Rattlers rebounded by smacking 18 in the second set, against just five errors in a 25-22 win. TAMIU ran out to an early six-point lead at 12-6 in the third set. The Rattlers rallied, though, and cut the deficit to just a single point at 21-20 on a Holly Moreno kill. But the Rattlers committed three straight errors and Alex Montemayor completed the set with a kill for a 25-20 win, giving TAMIU a two-sets-to-one lead.
The Rattlers looked off-balance at the start of the fourth set, falling behind 9-2. But thanks to some key attack errors in the fourth set for the Dustdevils and some clutch play by the Rattlers, St. Mary’s slowly came back. Sarah Moreno had three kills during a 10-3 run that gave St. Mary’s the lead for the first time in the set at 17-16. After TAMIU scored two points to retake the lead, the Rattlers finished the set with an 8-1 run to complete the win at 25-19.
That set up the wild and crazy final set. The teams traded the lead six times and had nine ties in the fifth set alone. Neither team led by more than two points the entire set. McCarver finally ended the suspense with a kill to wrap up the 16-14 win.
St. Mary’s improved to 6-8 overall and 3-1 in Heartland Conference play, while TAMIU fell to 2-13, 0-4. The Rattlers will return to the court on Wednesday when they host Heartland Conference co-leader Incarnate Word at 7 p.m. at Bill Greehey Arena.