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Belles drop first round MIAA match to Calvin College

Justin Stetz | Friday, November 5, 2004

The Saint Mary’s volleyball team concluded its season Tuesday, losing its first round match in the MIAA Tournament. The Belles faced Calvin College who came into the game in second place in the conference with a record of 25-8. This was the third time Saint Mary’s faced the Knights this year, and in three matches, the Belles failed to win a single game. The Belles never really got into any sort of rhythm as they lost the first two games by scores of 30-20. They went on to drop their final game of the season, 30-19. Shelly Bender led the team with eight kills on offense. On defense, both Michelle Turley and Amanda David had strong performances as they combined for 23 digs. Elise Rupright added 5 kills in the match, while Bender and Anne Cusack finished with 9 digs each. On the season, Turley finished first on the team with 237 kills. Her 253 digs on defense was second behind Anne Cusack, who finished with 323 digs. In attack percentage, Elise Rupright’s mark of .259 was first on the team and Turley’s .225 ranked second. Rupright also ended the year with 128 kills, while teammate Shelly Bender was first with 153 kills. In the block department, Bender led the team with 54 and Rupright added 50 of her own. The seniors leaving the Belles include Michelle Gary, Rupright and Stacey Stark. Each player had an important role for Saint Mary’s this year and will be difficult to replace. All three captains made up the nucleus of a team that struggled throughout the year, but also showed signs of brilliance at times. Next year, the Belles will look to rising seniors Turley and Bender to pick up where this season’s seniors left off. Both had tremendous seasons and should continue to get better over the next year. Only a sophomore, Cusack displayed terrific skills on defense during the entire season, and the Belles will expect even better things from her in the years to come. The Belles finished the season seventh in the MIAA with a record of 5-11. Overall, Saint Mary’s concluded the season with a record of 6-19. After beginning the year 0-5, Saint Mary’s gained some momentum and at one time was as high as fifth in the league and challenging for the fourth spot. However, they were never quite able to pull it all together and finished the season 2-11 in their final 13 matches.