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Belles lose 2 games; MIAA record now 3-5

Joe Meixell | Monday, October 1, 2007

Saint Mary’s dropped two games to tough competition Saturday in a triangular meet with Tri-State and Bethel.

The Belles lost to Tri-State 3-0 (20-30, 26-30, 27-30) in the first match and then dropped a hard-fought, five-game match to Bethel 3-2 (30-24, 25-30, 28-30, 30-27, 15-8) to end the day.

The Tri-State Thunder were able to come in and take control of the match from the start.

“We just let our opponent set the pace of the match. We didn’t play bad, we just didn’t play even close to the level that we should be playing at,” Belles coach Julie Schroeder-Biek said. “Consistent intensity was what was missing – we wait too long to get things going with any fire, and then it is too late.”

Although the Thunder had control, it was not a total case of domination. The Belles (6-10, 3-5 MIAA) lost to Tri-State by a combined total of 17 points in three games, and their stats almost mirrored each other. The Belles had 41 kills, 40 set assists and 60 defensive digs. The Thunder had 44 kills, 41 set assists and 76 defensive digs.

Unforced errors were the difference between the two teams in Saturday’s match.

“We also missed far too many serves, aggressive service errors I can handle, but lack of focus service errors are inexcusable,” Schroeder-Biek said. “When you look at the match score difference of seventeen total points and then see that we had ten service errors. … You’ve got to do the little things right, they add up.”

Junior middle blocker Cathy Kurczak led the way with 14 digs, and sophomore outside hitter Kaela Hellmann picked up 14 defensive digs.

The Belles changed their play when they took on the Pilots. Although Bethel was not a conference game, the team still approached it with intensity

“Bethel was a better team than Tri-State. Bethel had more size and more power than Tri-State,” Schroeder-Biek said. “We played much closer to our level and truly competed against Bethel.”

The Belles could not pull it out in the end, which the coach relates back to their lack of drive.

“To pull those five-game matches out, again – just more intensity on the whole … more collective determination to win,” she said,

The Belles had four players with double-doubles in the effort against the Pilots. Sophomore outside hitter Lorna Slupczynski had 18 kills and 14 defensive digs, freshman outside hitter Andrea Sasgen contributed 14 kills and 19 defensive digs, senior setter Amanda David had 55 assists and 11 digs, and Hellmann was a leader again with 13 kills and 17 digs.

Next up for Saint Mary’s is conference foe Adrian Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Angela Athletic Facility. In their last meeting, on Sept. 4, Adrian took down the Belles in three straight games to start their conference schedule.