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SMC Volleyball: Belles begin year against Maroons

Ryan Kiefer | Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Saint Mary’s volleyball team will begin its season tonight when the Belles take on the University of Chicago in a home scrimmage. The match against the Maroons will continue a recent tradition of opening the season with a scrimmage between the two teams.

The Belles are anxious to return to the court this year, attempting to improve upon last year’s six-win campaign. Saint Mary’s looks to have an excellent chance of both improving their win total and moving up the MIAA standings.

Junior outside attackers Michelle Turley and Kristen Playko are expected to lead the hitting for the Belles, while Shelly Bender is expected to provide senior leadership at middle attacker. Junior Amanda David will shift positions and handle the setting for the Belles.

Tonight’s scrimmage will allow coach Julie Schroeder-Biek the flexibility to try players at different positions and to get a feel for her team’s strengths and weaknesses. While her rotations may be different from a regular game, Schroeder-Biek was quick to point out her desire to see the players prepare as though the contest counted.

“I want [the players] to approach this as they would any other game. I want them to compete,” Schroeder-Biek said.

She also viewed this match as an opportunity to work out some early season jitters.

“For some of these girls, it is their first-ever college volleyball experience,” Schr-oeder-Biek said. “[The scrimmage] will be a good environment for that.”

Chicago is expected to bring a solid team that will test the Belles and alert them of areas that can improve. For Schroeder-Biek, evaluating the different parts of her team will be one of the main focal points during tonight’s match.

“It’ll be a great start because it will help identify areas that need attention,” Schroeder-Biek said. “It will also test individuals such as Amanda [David], who will be changing position.

“It will be a good gauge for our team.”

Schroeder-Biek was encouraged by Friday’s practice session. The Belles ran through their entire hour-long pre-match warm-up.

“They just brought so much energy. Everyone was in game mode. They’re ready to play,” Schroeder-Biek said.