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SMC Volleyball: Belles try to get back on track against MIAA’s?Olivet

Chris Michalski | Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Saint Mary’s will return to the court after a weeklong break looking to turn the tide from a tough stretch that has seen the Belles drop three of their last four matches, with each loss coming in a five-set battle.

“It is very vital that we start out our games strong and fight hard for the first set,” Belles coach Toni Kuschel said. “We need to focus on continuing to cut down on errors and play our game.”

Saint Mary’s (4-5, 1-3 MIAA) will challenge conference foe Olivet, a team coming off a three set loss to Hope College last week. As she has all season, Kuschel will rely on her three seniors – Lorna Slupczynski, Liana Rohr and Kathleen Mills – to lead a team looking to return to form after a solid season-opening showing at the Capital University Tournament in Columbus, Ohio.

“This year means a lot to our seniors, ” Kuschel said. “They work very hard every day in practice and set great examples for the underclassmen.”

One underclassman that is turning heads on the coaching staff is freshman outside hitter Stephanie Bodien, whose 88 kills are second to Slupczynski’s 141.

“Stephanie has really come on strong,” Kuschel said. “If you watch her play she does not look or act as a freshman.”

Junior?Andrea Sasgen, the team’s tallest player at 5 feet, 10 inches, has also made her presence felt in the early part of the season.

She leads the team in blocks and is third in kills with 76.?She joins Slupszynski and?Bodien as the only three Belles averaging at least two kills per game.

Sophomore setter?Danie?Brink has also provided consistent performances, averaging 8.61 assists per game.

Tonight’s home contest begins at 7 p.m. at the Angela?Athletic Center.