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SMC Volleyball: Belles fall to 1-3 after trio of losses

Conor Kelly | Monday, September 5, 2011

Saint Mary’s traveled to the Mount Union Tournament in Alliance, Ohio, to open its season and left with a 1-3 record. The squad earned a win over Allegheny but suffered losses to Mount Union, Geneva and Mount St. Joseph.

Though the 1-3 record on the weekend was not what she was hoping for, coach Toni Kuschel returned from Ohio pleased with how her team performed.

“The team showed a great amount of resiliency this weekend, and though we dug ourselves a number of holes, I was pleased with our ability to get out of them,” Kuschel said. “We played a large number of really close sets. It’s just a matter of getting over the hump.”

The Belles (1-3) fell to Mount Union Friday in a 3-0 (25-18, 25-22, 26-24) loss that was much closer than the score indicates, as Saint Mary’s pushed the Purple Raiders deep into sets.

Later in the day, the Belles took on Geneva but dropped the match 3-1 (26-28, 25-20, 25-17, 25-16) despite picking up its first set in a match this year.

“Our first two matches really set the tone for the weekend for us unfortunately,” Kuschel said. “I saw a lot of good things, and I’m really happy with how our team is coming together, but who wins on the score sheet is really all that matters.”

On Saturday, the Belles took their first victory of the season against Allegheny, 3-2 (25-18, 23-25, 27-29, 25-16, 15-10).

“Our outside hitters and defense really stepped up for us against Allegheny,” Kuschel said. “[Junior setter] Danie Brink really set our offense superbly. She finished with 47 assists. On the defensive end, I think we ended with 102 digs.”

Exhausted by the marathon match with Allegheny, the Belles fell in four sets to Mount St. Joseph 3-1 (25-21, 17-25, 25-12, 25-23) in the nightcap.

Kuschel displayed great admiration for her freshman class as seven of them saw the court this weekend. Freshman outside hitter Kati Schneider led the Belles with 49 kills in four games.

“I was delighted with how our freshmen played this weekend and how they’re assimilating into the team. Our team is really not divided into classes. We’re all Belles,” Kuschel said. “That will be really important as we jump into our conference schedule this week. There are no easy games, and every team is a great team.”

The Belles return to action Tuesday against Kalamazoo in Kalamazoo, Mich., in their first conference game of the season.

Contact Conor Kelly at

ckelly17@nd.edu