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SMC Volleyball: Belles travel to Hope

Samantha Leonard | Thursday, September 6, 2007

After a frustrating loss to open the MIAA season Tuesday, Saint Mary’s will need to play with more consistency again Hope tonight in Holland, Mich.

The Flying Dutch (3-1) are coming off a 3-0 win against Olivet. Hope is a strong defensive squad – they nearly doubled the Comets in digs, 55-38.

The Belles began league play Tuesday with a loss to Adrian. The three-game defeat (25-30, 28-30, 11-30) dropped their record to 1-3 on the season and 0-1 in the MIAA .

The first two games were hard fought, but the Belles came apart in the final game.

“We had some struggles with offensive connections,” Belles coach Julie Schroeder-Biek said. “If I could ignore the third game of the match, I would say that we played a very competitive match.”

The Belles did have incredibly strong defensive play, which was lead by senior defensive specialist Marisa Gross’ her 17 digs. As a team, Saint Mary’s had 62 digs.

“Our outside attackers really wreaked havoc with Adrian’s defense,” Schroeder-Biek said. “They did a fantastic job of finding holes in Adrian’s block and on their floor. Marisa Gross played with unbelievable intensity on defense.”

Schroeder-Biek said the 17 digs by Gross were even more impressive because they came from the defensive specialist position.

“That’s a number you usually see a libero with, rather than a defensive specialist,” Schroeder-Biek said.

Although Schroeder-Biek hopes the defensive play continues against the Flying Dutch, the third-game meltdown is something she’d like to avoid having to see again.

“I definitely saw a lot of good things out there [Tuesday], but I also saw a lot of things that we need to fix,” she said. “The fact that we deflated in the third game when we had shown such competitive spirit in the first two games of the match is something that we can never allow to happen again if we want to achieve the goals that we set for ourselves.”

Despite the disappointment of the loss, Schroeder-Biek said Saint Mary’s can recover and have a good season – starting tonight against Hope.

“I have confidence that we will fix those things and that we will learn from this … it was our first conference match of the season against a tough team,” she said. “We will get it all together and have an exciting year of volleyball ahead of us.”