San Antonio – The St. Mary’s volleyball team could not avenge its last loss to Arkansas-Fort Smith, which ended its historic season-opening record earlier this season, falling again Saturday in a 3-1 loss at home.
The competition was high in the first set in a back-and-forth volley that had the Rattlers (15-9) and the Lions (20-7) tied 12 times throughout the game, but ended with UA Fort Smith pulling ahead 25-18. The Rattlers (5-6 in conference) refocused and surged ahead to defeat the Lions 25-23 in the second set that only had the Lions (7-3 in conference) up once, back when they scored the first point of the set. However, Arkansas-Fort Smith showed its colors as the No. 2 seed in the Heartland Conference to rally the Rattlers full force in a 25-10 third-set victory. The Lions kept that momentum in the final set for a 25-16 win that closed out the match at 3-1.
Re-watch the match
Key players for the Rattlers were Allie Murray (Jr., San Antonio) with 43 assists and Victorria Martinez (Fr., Arlington, Texas) with 20 digs. Although the Rattlers have the best starting record in program history with a 10-game winning streak, St. Mary’s is now clawing to secure a bid in the Heartland Conference Tournament . According to senior Kirsten Chapman (Jourdanton, Texas), the Rattlers’ biggest competition has been themselves, as in the loss today.
“I think for us it’s mental thing, like it’s just a mental block we reach,” Chapman said. “We came out really strong and we were really ready to play them and to compete against them, and it’s just kind of a mental block we reached in the second game that I don’t think we were able to pull ourselves out of.”
One thing the Rattlers were able to pull out of this match was getting used to having Mallory Moeller (Sr., Geronimo, Texas) back on the court again. The senior went down in injury in the match against the Lions earlier this season and faced them again today in only her second game back. Moeller came out with eight kills against the Lions and appears to be healthy for play for the remainder of the season.
The Rattlers face cross-town rival Incarnate Word next Tuesday at Incarnate Word at 7p.m.