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Belles volleyball plays well, but falls just short

Justin Schuver | Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Saint Mary’s came out of the Calvin game on the short end of the score, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing the team can learn from its loss.

The Belles fell to the Knights by a score of 27-30, 21-30, 19-30 Tuesday night, but coach Julie Schroeder-Biek was proud of how her team performed its game plan.

“One of the reasons Calvin is 6-0 now is that they have a strong middle attack,” she said. “I’m very happy with how we played up the middle.”

Calvin’s leading player, middle hitter Kara Kuipers, came into the game hitting an average of .600, but the Belles were able to hold her to well below that average. It was not enough as Kuipers’ teammates were able to back up their star.

The Belles started strong in the match, holding close to Calvin in a first game that was only decided by three points. After that, it seemed as though the team might have lost a bit of intensity, a fact reflected in the scores of the final two games.

“We’re the kind of team that needs to win that first game,” Schroeder-Biek said. “When we started this match it was just like this weekend [at the Kilt Classic, where the Belles went 4-1].

“The first game we made some sloppy mistakes that caught up to us, and after that we didn’t ever seem to get that original intensity back.”

Freshman Kristen Playko continued her impressive rookie season, leading the Belles with 11 kills and also contributing nine digs and three service aces. Senior captain Alison Shevik led the team with 15 digs.

Setter Lauren Temple had 32 assists to lead the team, and middle hitter Elise Rupright pitched in with a solid performance – eight kills, seven digs, two solo blocks and three service aces.

The loss drops the Belles to 0-2 in conference play, but their coach maintains that this team has the ability to be something special.

“We have great potential this year,” Schroeder-Biek said. “We cannot lower our expectations. We need to play at the level we know we can play at, for the entire game.”

Saint Mary’s returns home to face non-conference opponent Rochester College Thursday.