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SMC VOLLEYBALL: Bulldogs take bite out of Belles

Ryan Kiefer | Thursday, October 6, 2005

Saint Mary’s lost focus somewhere on its way to Adrian Wednesday.

The Belles played a sluggish match, losing in three games to the Bulldogs 30-15, 30-21, 30-18.

Belles’ coach Julie Schroeder-Biek thought her team got itself in trouble early.

“We dug a hole for ourselves,” she said. “They are a good team, one of the top three or four in the league. It’s tough when you get behind good teams.”

Adrian forced the action much of the night. The Bulldogs featured a powerful attack game, led by two-time MIAA player of the week Lindsey Eschelman.

Schroeder-Biek felt that her team played adequate defense on Eschelman, but that a lack of determination ultimately let the Belles down.

“It wasn’t [Eschelman] that destroyed us,” she said. “We blocked and dug her well. In certain other areas, however we let go. Not everyone played with fire.”

The Belles’ coach also said that her team played as though they were intimidated by the Bulldogs and lacked confidence throughout the night.

Kristen Playko led the Belles’ offense with 12 kills. The Belles ran an adequate offensive game, but left a number of points out on the court.

“We didn’t run our strongest offense tonight,” Schroeder-Biek said. “It was slow and scrambled and we didn’t do enough with the free balls we got from them. Our communication was lacking at times as well.”

The loss moved the Belles to 8-11 on the season, 2-5 in the MIAA. Saint Mary’s will face Albion and Olivet at the Olivet Triangular Saturday before a rematch next Tuesday at home against the Bulldogs.

Schroeder-Biek hopes that a better mental approach will lead to a different result against Adrian next week.

“If everyone steps on the court wanting to win, we can beat them,” she said. “They are a very beatable team. We definitely saw things tonight that we can take advantage of next week. There were a lot of things we didn’t capitalize on.”

Schroeder-Biek pointed out that Adrian left holes in their blocking that left the Belles opportunities for kills. She was also skeptical of the Bulldog defense, saying her team “didn’t make their defense move enough.”

The team’s lack of cohesion also contributed to the loss Schroeder-Biek said.

“Our problems tonight need to be addressed on an individual basis,” she said “Some players just didn’t play with enough intensity tonight. It wasn’t everyone, but we were lacking in certain areas. Physically, each player has the ability to play well enough to win. Now, we need to work on the mental side of our game.”