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SMC Volleyball: Belles face top-seed Calvin

Samantha Leonard | Friday, November 2, 2007

Saint Mary’s will need to be at its best tonight to keep its title hopes alive against top-seeded Calvin in the semifinals of the MIAA tournament.

Calvin, which is ranked No. 16 nationally, got the best of the Belles twice this season and has only lost one conference match all season.

Calvin senior middle hitter Molly Krikke averages close to five kills per game, while senior setter Katie Zondervan is the drive of this offense, leading the team in assists with just under 14 per game. Zondervan and Krikke have both been honored as MIAA athletes of the week and could pose a problem for the Belles.

Although Calvin will be a tough competitor, Belles head coach Julie Schroeder-Biek said her team is ready.

“We are focusing on bettering our game. I really prefer to practice things that we can control,” Schroeder-Biek said. “We watch game film to anticipate and learn our opponents tendencies.”

Besides studying their opponent, the Belles need to work on something they have struggled with all season – their own mindset.

“We need to feel confident in our abilities to respond to whatever our opponent throws our way,” Schroeder-Biek said. “We are separating the tournament from the regular season. We start with a clean slate.”

This will be the second year in a row that Saint Mary’s will play Calvin in the semifinals. Last season, Calvin downed the Belles 3-0.

Saint Mary’s entered this season’s tournament as the fifth seed and swept Tri-State on Tuesday. The win avenged the Belles two regular season losses to Tri-State and improved their record to 13-17.

Schroeder-Biek said the Belles will need the same “competitive drive” against Calvin that they had against Tri-State.

“The single-elimination factor of the tournament makes things a little more exciting, and I think brings out your fight,” Schroeder-Biek said.

The winner of the match will take on Hope or Adrian Saturday