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SMC Volleyball: Squad set to take on MIAA power Calvin

Michael Bryan | Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Streaky play has defined most of Saint Mary’s MIAA season, and the Belles will need to find a hot streak tonight if they hope to upset first-place Calvin tonight in Grand Rapids, Mich.

The Belles are coming off a split against two MIAA foes in the Adrian Triangular on Friday. In the first match Saint Mary’s defeated Albion 3-1, led by senior Kristen Playko’s 17 kills and senior Anne Cusack’s 25 digs. Freshman Lorna Slupczynski also tallied 10 kills in the victory.

In the second match of the double dip, the Belles fell to Adrian 3-1. The Bulldogs were able to put down 52 kills, ending any hope of a St. Mary’s comeback in the late games. Slupczinski recorded a double-double and setter Amanda David had 28 assists in the losing effort.

Belles coach Julie Schroeder-Biek said the Belles unpredictability was partly due to a lack of focus.

“We need to take responsibility for our inconsistencies lately,” she said. “We need to cancel out other distractions and focus on the matches and our team’s goals when we’re on the court.”

A tough challenge awaits the Belles when they face Calvin Wednesday. The Knights are undefeated in MIAA play and 16-1 overall. This week the team rose to the No. 19 ranking in Division III, and swept Tri-State last week for their seventh victory in a row.

Schroeder-Biek, however, believes her team is up for the challenge.

“They definitely can be beat, but we first have to challenge them and attempt to pull them out of their game,” she said. “It will take a solid team effort and full focus and drive for us to accomplish an upset.”

When these teams last met September, the result was a 3-0 Calvin sweep at Saint Mary’s. Schroeder-Biek says the Belles can definitely improve on that effort and, more importantly, believe in themselves.

“We came out so flat in that match, and challenged them only in spurts,” Schroeder-Biek said. “We have made some slight changes to our defense, but more than anything we need to be hungry and ready to compete.”