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SMC Volleyball: Belles take momentum into semifinal match

Michael Bryan | Friday, November 3, 2006

Fourth-seeded Saint Mary’s will put its season on the line at conference power and Division III No. 12 Calvin in the semifinals of the MIAA tournament tonight at 7:30 p.m.The Belles are coming off a dramatic five-set victory over fifth-seeded Alma in Tuesday’s quarterfinal. The Scots took a commanding lead, winning the first game 30-26 and the second game 30-22.The Belles resiliently stormed back to grab three straight games for the match win. After winning the third game 30-23, they trailed the Scots 27-22 in game four. However, with Alma just three points away from victory, the Belles put together a crucial run of eight straight points for a 30-22.In the fifth and deciding game, Saint Mary’s once again trailed early, 7-5. The Belles then won four points in a row and never looked back, taking the game and match with a 15-11 win. The Belles effort was led by many strong individual performances. Senior Kristen Playko had a match-high 25 kills and 18 digs, and freshman Lorna Slupczynski had a double-double of her own with 15 kills and 26 digs. Anne Cusack led the way defensively with 36 digs.Setter Amanda David said winning home-court advantage for the match in the regular season was key.”It was a terrific comeback,” David said. “We fought all season to host the first round and we had something to prove. We were protecting our home court.”The Calvin Knights cruised in the quarterfinals against Albion, sweeping the match 3-0. Calvin finished the regular season undefeated in the MIAA and 30-1 overall.Belles coach Julie-Schroeder-Biek said her team is up to 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.”David agreed that the team will be ready as long as it works on a few important points. “For our next match we really need to keep up our communication on the court and stay confident throughout the whole match,” she said.The winner of the semifinal match will face off against the winner of Adrian and Hope Saturday.