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SMC Volleyball: Belles ring up Kalamazoo

Samantha Leonard | Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Belles first match at home in over a week was worth the wait, as Saint Mary’s swept Kalamazoo in three games Wednesday.

Kalamazoo showed a lot of energy, but did not have enough steam to keep up with the Belles.

Saint Mary’s dominated its first game, winning 30-16. The second game was more of a challenge as the Belles sweated out a 38-36 victory over the Hornets before winning the finale 30-18 to complete the sweep.

With the conference win, Saint Mary’s improved its record to 10-2 overall and 3-1 in the MIAA.

Belles coach Julie Schroeder-Biek credits her offensive improvement and “scrappy” defense for the team’s continued success.

“Our attack has been more balanced this year. We have quite a few players that can put the ball down,” Schroeder-Biek said. “And our back court has done a nice job keeping the ball alive for the offense.”

Setter Amanda David was one of those players, making several key plays to keep the Belles afloat.

Senior outside hitter Kristen Playko posted her 11th double-double of the year with a 15-kill, 22-dig performance. Freshman outside hitter Lorna Slupczysnki also had a double-double, her seventh of the season, with 13 kills and 10 digs. Sophomore middle back Cathy Kurczak added 11 kills while senior libero Anne Cusack tallied 21 digs

The Belles host Calvin College in another conference matchup Friday at 6:30 p.m.

Schroeder-Biek is wary of a challenge from Calvin (10-1, 4-0 MIAA).

“We will need to start out much stronger than we did [Wednesday],” she said. We also just need to play like we have at our away matches – very crisp and very aggressive throughout the match.”

Schroeder-Biek knows it will take a team effort against Calvin and is encouraged by the Belles’ chemistry this year.

“Our players have really lifted their game and shown so much individual improvement,” she said. “They really play for each other.”