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SMC Volleyball: Squad hopes second match brings same end

Michael Bryan | Wednesday, September 13, 2006

After a runner-up finish in the Baldwin-Wallace tournament last weekend, a confident Saint Mary’s team will travel to face Albion tonight in a MIAA match.

The Belles started fast this season, winning eight of their first ten matches. Over the weekend at Baldwin-Wallace, the team swept all three of its matches in pool play before falling to the host and eventual champion Yellow Jackets 3-1 (30-27, 16-30, 30-19, 30-28).

Saint Mary’s coach Julie Schroeder-Biek was impressed with the team’s performance.

“We were able to play a strong and consistent game throughout the tournament and dominated the group play,” Schroeder-Biek said. “The strength we showed in the tournament did wonders for our confidence.”

Before the tough loss to Baldwin-Wallace, the Belles defeated John Carroll 3-0 (30-19, 30-23, 30-20) to finish undefeated in group play and advance to the final. St. Mary’s easily defeated Lake Erie 3-0 (30-16, 30-8, 30-10) and Case Western 3-0 (30-22, 30-11, 30-23) on Friday.

The team faced Albion once already this season – the Britons were the Belles’ first opponent this year, in the Tri-State tournament. The Belles finished strong after a slow start, winning the match 3-2 (30-16, 27-30, 17-30, 30-10, 15-6).

Saint Mary’s senior Kristen Playko led the winning effort with 15 kills. Libero Anne Cusack starred defensively with 19 digs and freshman Lorna Slupczynski added 12 digs and 11 kills. The win was one of four consecutive St. Mary’s victories that led to winning the Tri-State tournament title.

Albion has not fared as well as the Belles, however, losing five of its first six matches.

The Britons are led by senior Kristen Slamer, who has tallied 53 kills on the season. Albion coach Melissa Walton and the Britons look to turn their season around with a league victory at home.

Schroeder-Biek believes her squad will be up to the challenge.

“We’ve had a really balanced offensive attack and solid defense behind them,” she said. “We still have things to fine tune, but our team now really knows our potential and believes that they can accomplish the high goals we have set for ourselves.”