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Hornets sting Belles in tough MIAA contest

Joe Meixell | Thursday, October 7, 2004

The Belles got stung Wednesday night when the Kalamazoo Hornets beat them in three games. Saint Mary’s came into the match with high expectations and on a three-game winning streak. But Kalamazoo proved to be too much for the Belles winning 30-27, 30-20 and 30-22.

The Belles played hard in the first game, but fell short in a close match. They were unable to overcome an early deficit as the Hornets picked apart their defense and held back Saint Mary’s offensive threat.

In the first meeting of these two teams, Saint Mary’s had a similar experience as Kalamazoo prevented a comeback by improving throughout the match.

Michelle Turley was one of the few bright spots for the Belles. She finished the game with a balanced game of 10 kills on offense and 13 digs on defense. Shelly Bender provided some help for the team by collecting nine kills to go along with her 10 digs.

Ann Cusack has played consistently well all year for Saint Mary’s and ended up with 10 defensively. Cusack, who is only a sophomore, leads the team with 194 digs on the year.

The loss drops the Belles to 4-6 in the MIAA and 4-9 on the season.

However, first-place Alma knocked off Adrian College putting Saint Mary’s in a tie for fifth place.

The Belles have now gone 4-4 over their last eight games and must keep themselves from sliding any farther down in the standings. During the run, Saint Mary’s has been able to win the first game in the set a total of five times.

Saint Mary’s must continue to improve offensively and defensively in such a tight division as senior Michelle Gary said earlier in the week. Hope College has drawn nearer and is within striking distance of the Belles.

Now the Belles must regroup from their loss and prepare to face Calvin College Friday. Calvin is in second place in the league and has already defeated the Belles earlier this season. The Knights are 8-1 in the conference and will provide the Belles with a good measurement of their progress.