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SMC VOLLEYBALL: Belles look for better result against Adrian

Joe Meixell | Tuesday, October 2, 2007

After losing to Adrian in its MIAA opener almost a month ago, Saint Mary’s will face off against the Bulldogs Tuesday for the second time this season.

“We have made a lot of changes since we played them a month ago,” Belles coach Julie Schroeder-Biek said. “We had our worst attacking match ever against Adrian.”

Adrian is coming off two victories in the Olivet Triangular, where it defeated conference contenders Olivet and Kalamazoo.

In the second game, against Kalamzaoo, three Bulldogs had double-digit kills: senior outside hitter Lindsey Eshelman (19), junior outside hitter Jenny Carlson (13) and senior middle hitter Sara Morningstar (10). Six Bulldogs had at least 14 digs in the victory as well; Mercy led the way again with 27.

Adrian improved its record to 11-6 on the year, and 8-1 in the MIAA. Its only loss in conference play has been to undefeated conference leader Calvin.

Saint Mary’s did not fare as well as Adrian in its own triangular last weekend, falling to conference foe Tri-State and local rival Bethel in its own tournament.

The Belles team leaders against Tri-State were junior middle blocker Cathy Kurczak with 14 digs and sophomore outside hitter Kaela Hellmann with 14 defensive digs.

The Belles had four players with double-doubles in the effort against the Bethel 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, and senior setter Amanda David had 55 assists and 11 digs. Hellmann was a leader in the effort again with 13 kills and 17 digs.

The two losses brought the Belles to a record of 6-10 overall and 3-5 in MIAA play.

After losing to Tri-State, the Belles have played all the teams in the MIAA conference. Schroeder-Biek is ready to start facing her competition again, and will not take even last-place Alma, which beat the Belles Sept. 13, lightly.

“We need to face every single MIAA opponent as our biggest threat. We are not overlooking anyone and we are not perceiving anyone as unbeatable,” Schroeder-Biek said. 

One of Saint Mary’s goals this season is to be a host in the conference tournament. In order for this to happen, the Belles must rank in the top four of the MIAA. Right now, they sit in fifth place.

“In order for us to be a first-round conference host, we need to really step up not only our physical game but [also] our mental game,” Schroeder-Biek said.

The Belles will need to play with high intensity against a strong defense and offense when they face off against Adrian tonight at 7 in the Angela Center.