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Belles win two at SMC Triangular

Justin Schuver | Monday, September 15, 2003

Just two weeks into the 2003 season, the Belles have already matched their win total from last year.

Saint Mary’s improved to 7-3 on the season with two wins in the SMC Triangular this Saturday, defeating Kalamazoo in five games with a score of 26-30, 30-18, 30-17, 24-30, 15-10 and taking down Tri-State in straight sets by a score of 33-31, 30-24, 30-26.

“I was very happy with how we played,” coach Julie Schroeder-Biek said. “Kalamazoo was a very tough match especially. It showed a lot of character for our team to come back after losing the first set.”

The Belles were again led offensively by freshman outside hitter Kristen Playko, who had 28 kills against Kalamazoo. Playko also led the team with four service aces. Middle hitter Elise Rupright led the team with five service aces.

Against Tri-State, the Belles had difficulty getting going early but managed to pull away as the game went on.

“Tri-State is much improved from last year,” Schroeder-Biek said.

The Thunder will enter the MIAA next season, with this year being their last to compete in the NAIA.

Playko led the team against Tri-State with 12 kills. Temple led the team with three service aces, and middle hitter Shelly Bender led the Belles with three solo blocks.

A continual bright spot for the Belles this season has been the play of Playko. In nearly every Saint Mary’s contest, she has been near the top in several key categories.

“I was hoping for this kind of play out of [Playko],” Schroeder-Biek said. “She’s just a very dynamic woman who plays with a lot of intensity.”

The Belles received an additional honor this week as outside attacker Alison Shevik was named MIAA specialty player of the week.

Saint Mary’s doesn’t get much of a rest after their impressive Triangular performance. The Belles are back on the court Monday against University of Chicago.

In the first SMC Triangular on Aug. 30, the University of Chicago defeated Saint Mary’s in a scrimmage game that did not count as a regular season match. For this reason, the Belles’ coach believes there will be a different outcome now that it counts.

“I am real excited to play them,” Schroeder-Biek said. “Our goal when playing them in the scrimmage was not to win, but just to experiment with our lineup.

“We probably ended up seeing more of their starters than they saw of ours.”

Saint Mary’s faces the University of Chicago at home at 7 p.m.