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SMC Volleyball: Kuschel has high hopes for Saint Mary’s in ’09

Bobby Graham | Monday, September 7, 2009

If you talk to Belles’ volleyball head coach Toni Kuschel, it’s safe to say that she thinks things are looking up for this year’s squad.

Saint Mary’s, which finished in third place at the Capital Tournament this past weekend, will start conference play against in-state rival Trine tonight at the Angela Athletic Complex.

“The sky is the limit for this Saint Mary’s team,” Kuschel said. “This game is very important and will help set the tone for the rest of the season.”

Despite her own expectations, Kuschel admitted that the fate of this season rests in the hands of her talented players.

“One of our teams goals this year is to finish in the very top of the MIAA. A coach can have a clear picture of what they want for their team, but the 12 of them are the ones who have to believe and make it happen out on the court.”

The Belles should have no problems when it comes to self-motivation. They are led by a strong senior class headlined by Lorna Slupcznski.

Slupcznski, an Indiana native, was recently named to the Capital Tournament All- Tournament team and was a big reason for the Belles’ success. This experienced group should also help along what Kuschel describes as a “very talented” freshman class, who got their first taste of college volleyball this past weekend.

The Belles will open conference play tonight against the Thunder, who went only 9-20 last season.