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SMC Volleyball: Belles can’t overcome errors

Michael Blasco | Monday, October 6, 2008

Despite another strong defensive showing, the Belles collapsed under the weight of 18 errors, falling to conference foe Alma in four sets at the Scots’ Cappeart Gymnasium Friday.

Saint Mary’s (12-6, 5-4 MIAA) held Alma (14-6, 6-2 MIAA) to a pedestrian .210 attacking percentage, but offensive inconsistency plagued the Belles once again.

Saint Mary’s coach Julie Schroeder-Biek attributed her squad’s offensive struggles to its youth.

“We have been struggling through a few things offensively, primarily with just learning each other – new setters learning the tendencies and strengths of their attackers and attackers learning the same things about the setters,” Schroeder-Biek said.

The Belles stumbled out of the gate, dropping the first two sets 25-15, 25-21 while posting a .049 attacking percentage. Saint Mary’s mounted a 25-18 rally in the third set, but the Scots clamped down and closed the match with a 25-15 win in the fourth as the Belles’ defense crumbled, allowing a .316 attacking percentage down the stretch.

Schroeder-Biek said her team has the talent to make a run in the MIAA but has had trouble putting all the pieces together.

“We just need to turn up our game,” Schroeder-Biek said. “It is there. [That’s] our focus – [to] bring not only our skill but, our heart to the court.”

Junior hitter Lorna Slupczynski, led the squad in kills but committed a team-high 10 errors to finish the match with a .023 attacking percentage. Senior hitter Kaela Hellmann and sophomore defensive specialist Meg Rose each turned in a solid defensive outing with 22 and 16 digs, respectively.

Sophomore setter Dani Brink finished with 31 assists and a .300 attacking percentage, while Slupczynski, Hellmann, Rose and Brink each finished with a service ace.

Alma senior hitter Kim Gillhespy dominated offensively, finishing with match-highs in kills (15), attacking percentage (.324), and service aces (three). The Scots’ defense finished with 91 digs and seven blocks, while setter Hannah Hewitt added 41 assists.

The Belles return to action Tuesday evening when they take on conference-opponent Hope at home. The Flying Dutchman lead the MIAA with a perfect 9-0 record in conference play.