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SMC VOLLEYBALL: Olivet takes win over Saint Mary’s in five matches

Ryan Kiefer | Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Consistent play may not always be exciting, but it the end, it wins games.

Unfortunately for the Saint Mary’s volleyball team, it lacked consistency Tuesday and fell to Olivet College in five back and forth games, 25-30, 30-28, 30-23, 21-30, 15-9.

The loss was particularly disturbing for Belles coach Julie Schroeder-Biek, as she felt her team was a victim of its own mistakes.

“We hurt ourselves more so than any one of their players hurt us,” Schroeder-Biek said.

The Belles (4-7, 0-2 MIAA) looked strong early in the match, taking control of the first game by jumping out to an early 6-1 lead. Michelle Turley paced Saint Mary’s with her strong hitting. Her play propelled the Belles to a win in the first game. Schroeder-Biek took notice of Turley’s stellar play.

“She is a strong player,” Schroeder-Biek said. “She played well over the weekend and has been lifting her game the entire season.”

Saint Mary’s seemed poised to take a two games to none lead as they led 24-19 late in the second game. Weak serve reception proved to be the Belles’ demise, however. Olivet (2-7, 1-0) was able to take advantage of Saint Mary’s mistakes, using a 9-1 run to take a 28-24 lead and holding off the Belles for the win.

Schroeder-Biek thought her team eased up at the end of game two.

“We relaxed. We need to work on our killer instinct and drive toward the finish,” she said.

The Comets of Olivet were energized by their win in game two and came out with more emotion in the third game. A 7-4 Belles lead was quickly erased by a 6-1 Comet run. Saint Mary’s was able to tie the game at 16, but inconsistent play again proved to be the Belles’ Achilles’ heel as they lost 14 of the game’s final 21 points.

The final point summed up a frustrating night for Saint Mary’s. A Comet player dove and dug a ball that seemed destined to be a Belles kill, sending it across the net and into the open court for a miraculous Olivet kill.

Schroeder-Biek talked about her team’s need to be mentally tough after setbacks like these.

“We had a lot of highs and lows tonight,” she said. “Ultimately we need to be consistent. We had some players getting down after some misses. You need to have a short term memory and have the confidence to dig in and bounce back.”

The Belles were able to tie the match by playing their most complete game of the match in the fourth. Saint Mary’s tightened up their defensive play and used a 7-0 run to take a 23-14 lead on their way to a game four win.

The fifth game was tight early, but Olivet surged ahead with a 7-0 to extend their lead to 13-5. They held off a late Belles charge to claim the victory.

Despite the loss in the match’s final game, Schroeder-Biek was pleased with her team’s approach.

“I told them to play like a winner and stay aggressive,” she said. “Normally when we get into a close game we play safe. I thought we played aggressive at the end, but again it was our serve reception that struggled. We’ll be working on that this week.”

The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for Saint Mary’s and ended a seven-game losing streak for Olivet.

The Belles will look to bounce back from Tuesday’s difficult loss when they travel to Concordia, Ill. Thursday for another game of their season.