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Hope takes down Belles in three sets

Pat Stynes | Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Saint Mary’s showed some potential in the later sets against MIAA-powerhouse Hope College, but it wasn’t enough for the upset as they lost in straight sets Tuesday night at home.

“If they can come together as a team and play as one cohesive unit, we will be in position to be a top team in the league,” Belles coach Julie Schroeder-Biek said following the Belles 3-1 victory over Trine University last week.

The Flying Dutch, who improved to 11-0 in conference play with the victory, dominated the opening set with a 25-4 win. Offensive standouts junior Lorna Slupczynski and senior Kaela Hellmann could not withstand the stout defensive effort by Hope, as they were only able to convert a paltry six percent of their kill attempts – finishing only five of 81 attempts.

Hope senior Meghan Winer and junior Andrea Helminiak spearheaded the defensive effort with 11 and 15 digs, respectively.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Flying Dutch had their way with the Belles, as they were able to convert 40 kills on 101 attempts, posting an impressive .396 average. Saint Mary’s sophomore Meghann Rose valiantly tried to stem the assault, posting 10 digs, yet due to the offense’s inability to put any pressure on the Hope defense, the Dutch proved to be too much for the Belles.

Saint Mary’s did show some life in the second and third sets when they fought back for respectable 25-22 and 25-16 losses. The Belles never backed down, but in the end could not muster the firepower to come away with a victory.

The loss dropped Saint Mary’s to 5-6 in the MIAA and 12-8 overall so far this season. The Belles will look to move back above .500 in conference play with a pair of games against Alma and Olivet College at Olivet this Saturday starting at 11 a.m.