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SMC Volleyball: Four conference games left before tournament

Samantha Leonard | Friday, October 19, 2007

As Saint Mary’s students relax for fall break, the Belles volleyball team will be hard at work. The Belles begin play Saturday against Kalamazoo and Defiance and will play three more games next week. These final five games will finish up regular-season play for Saint Mary’s.

Kalamazoo is seventh in the MIAA (8-15, 4-8 MIAA). The Belles squashed the Hornets earlier this season, sweeping them in three games.

Saint Mary’s coach Julie Schroeder-Biek has been very busy preparing for the multitude of games over fall break, and it has been a challenge for the coach.

“This is an interesting time in our season,” Schroeder-Biek said. “We have limited practice opportunities in relation to the Kalamazoo, Alma and Calvin matches. Our plan of attack is to bring our best game to the floor. Each one of these conference opponents is very different but still very much a threat to us.”

After Kalamazoo, the Belles will take on the only non-conference match left this season, Defiance.

The Belles will have one day off before they take on eighth-place Alma (6-19, 2-11). The Scots proved no match for the Belles in their first meeting, where the Belles won 3-0.

The Belles will leave Alma to head to Calvin for another conference meet. Calvin has been a tough competitor for all conference teams this season, with a record of 12-1 in the MIAA and 21-4 overall. In their first meeting, Calvin swept the Belles with ease.

The Belles will wrap up the conference schedule against fourth-place Tri-State (12-12, 9-5). The Belles were swept by the Thunder in their last meeting earlier in the season.

With very little time to prepare, the Belles are focusing on one of their weaknesses: their emotions.

“The key will be us playing with the heart and soul of winners … putting in that extra effort to make that dig, get to that set, close that block, be in position to pass the ball to target, communicating on the court to teammates – just being determined to finish the season strong,” Schroeder-Biek said. “Our key is our mindset.”

One of the Belles main goals this season was to be a host for the MIAA conference tournament. To be a host the Belles must be in fourth place by the end of the season, but right now Saint Mary’s is sixth.

Schroeder-Biek has not given up on this goal. But the main priority, she said, is to finish the season strong.

“We still have a chance [to host],” Schroeder-Biek said. “But there are some things that will have to happen that are not in our control – it will help us if certain teams lose and certain teams win.”