After coming close numerous times, St. Ambrose picked up its first win over a top-10 team by taking down No., 4 Ottawa (Kan.) 3-1 Friday night at Lee Lohman Arena.
The 21-25, 25-22, 25-18, 25-23 win moves the Bees to 10-7 overall with six of those losses coming to nationally-ranked teams. SAU also handed Ottawa (17-3) just its third loss this season.
It looked like SAU might move to 0-7 against top-10 opponents when Ottawa built an eight-point lead in cruising through the opening set.
But after falling behind 5-3 in the second, the Bees hit their stride. A block from Zach Schmidt and Spencer Lanig was followed by two aces from Scott MacGillis to give St. Ambrose the lead. Things stayed close from there.
An Austin Royer kill broke an 18-18 tie and SAU maintained a lead the rest of the set after Nathan Heller followed with a kill of his own. Schmidt had two kills, and Royer, MacGillis and Riley Anderson each had one as the Bees evened the match at one set apiece.
Midway through the third, a four-point run helped swing momentum SAU's way. Heller and MacGillis had back-to-back kills. Heller followed with an ace and then MacGillis and Lanig combined on a block to give St. Ambrose a 13-10 lead. The Bees slowly pulled away from there to take the set.
SAU led throughout much of the fourth before the Braves forced a 20-20 tie late in the set. Lanig put down two kills and Heller and Anderson teamed for a block as part of a 4-1 run to put SAU in front 24-21. The Bees needed the breathing room as Ottawa fought off two match points to get to within a point at 24-23. Finally Schmidt put down his 10th kill of the night to become the fourth Bee in double digits and seal the win.
MacGillis led the team with 13 kills while Heller had 12 and four of SAU's eight aces. Anderson finished with 10 kills and 12 digs. Schmidt had just one hitting error to go along with his 10 kills. Lanig added nine kills. Royer recorded 50 assists and Robby Hoffman came up with 12 digs.
The Bees now embark on their Spring Break trip to Florida. SAU will visit No. 5 Warner Thursday before playing three times at the Warner Invitational Friday and Saturday.