San Antonio – Bouncing back after falling off an eight-game winning streak, St. Mary’s definitely put on show Tuesday as it defeated Our Lady of the Lake University in a four-set thriller.
Each set played between the Rattlers (12-6, 4-3 in conference) and the Saints (8-11) was a close one in the 3-1 triumph. All but one set was won by the required two points, with the first set being won by three.
The Rattlers overtook the Saints 25-22 in the first set before their longest set of the season.
With the Rattlers hoping to take it in three and the Saints biding for a comeback, the second set turned into an extended affair in a back-and-forth doozy that turned in the Saints’ favor, 31-29.
“We’ve been struggling playing ‘with’ teams instead of ahead and above them,” says Taylor Obermiller (So., San Antonio) of the 30-plus set. “But it’s been something we’ve really been focusing on in practice and something we keep in the back of our minds.”
St. Mary’s had won eight straight before dropping a weekend contest against Arkansas-Fort Smith. Obermiller helped the Rattlers get back on track by overtaking the Saints in the final two sets, winning 25-23 and taking it into extras again in the fourth set, 27-25. The 6-foot middle blocker led St. Mary’s with 13 kills and 17 points, highlighting a kill-heavy game.
Leading both teams and contributing a lump of 27 points to the Saints was Our Lady of the Lake’s Christine Ruckman, who ended the night with 21 kills. The Rattlers had to fight to keep Ruckman’s kills from gaining the victory, which was mostly responsible for the Rattlers’ 22 block assists for the match compared the Saints’ eight.
Freshman Lauren Holman (Rowlett, Texas) was the main protector of the net Tuesday, leading with seven block assists as well as a team second-best 10 kills for 13.5 points. Melissa Heft (So., San Antonio) was right by her side with six block assists for 10 points to go along with seven kills.
Jenna Paul (Fr., Alvin, Texas) also hit double-digits against the Saints with 13.5 points from her team-high four service aces and eight kills. Senior setter Allie Murray (San Antonio) pulled down 41 assists while Rattler defensive specialist Victorria Martinez (So., Arlington, Texas) led with 26 digs.
Looking for Tuesday’s victory over the Saints to spark another streak, the Rattlers hit the road to play Heartland Conference contender Texas A&M International University on Thursday in Laredo, Texas at 7 p.m.