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SMC Volleyball: SMC?takes 3rd place in

Chris Michalski | Monday, September 7, 2009

Belles first-year coach Toni Kuschel led her Saint Mary’s squad to a third-place finish in the Capital University Opener Tournament, bringing the team’s overall record to 3-2.

Following their straight-set loss in the season-opener against cross-town rival Bethel on Tuesday, the Belles won three out of four this weekend, with their only loss to the eventual champion DePauw University.

They started the weekend off with an exciting match against Muskingum where the Belles eventually pulled it out with a dominating 15-8 fifth set. Senior Lorna Slupczynski led the way with 18 kills, 17 digs, and six aces.

The Belles continued on with a 3-1 victory over Penn State-Altoona, giving them their second victory of the young season.

The two wins advanced them to the semi-finals on Saturday morning, where they faced DePauw, which finished second in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship last year. The Belles dropped three straight sets (25-17, 25-18, 25-17) to the Tigers and were forced to settle with a chance at third place.

But the Belles put the loss behind them and came out with a dominating three-set win over Hanover. In the match, Junior Danie Brink had 20 assists, six digs, five kills and two aces. Slupczynski added to her stats with a team-leading 12 kills.

Following the tournament, Slupczynski was named to the All-Tournament Team, adding to her numerous accolades including back-to-back All-MIAA second team honors.

The Belles will return to Angela Athletic Facility on Tuesday to take on in-state rival Trine University at 7 p.m. The match will mark the beginning of their MIAA conference schedule. The Belles split the series 1-1 with Trine last year.