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SMC Volleyball: Saint Mary’s sweeps pair of weekend opponents

Katie Heit | Monday, September 26, 2011

The Belles hit hard and came out on top with a weekend sweep against Adrian and Manchester.

“I thought we played really well as a team, especially our conference match versus Adrian,” Belles coach Toni Kuschel said. “They’re a tough team defensively and I thought we played excellent.”

Saint Mary’s (5-7, 3-4 MIAA) started out strong with a quick lead on conference opponent Adrian (11-7, 8-2). The Bulldogs came back quickly, however, and the two teams battled for every point. Tied at both 22-22 and 23-23, the Belles finally clinched the game when junior outside hitter Stephanie Bodien hit back-to-back kills to bring her team to a 25-23 win.

In the second set against Adrian, the Belles built a 19-14 lead before Adrian overcame the five-point barrier and brought the score to 20-20. The teams were in another tough spot, playing past the 25-25 point tie, when freshman outside hitter Kati Schneider mirrored Bodien’s winning shots the game before with back-to-back kills, bringing the final score to 29-27.

Saint Mary’s dominated the entire third set against the Bulldogs, winning 25-17.

Bodien led with 15 kills and a pair of service aces. Other top performers included Schneider, who had 13 kills, and sophomore middle hitter Christi Wyble, who had the match-high six blocks.

In their game against non-conference opponent Manchester (10-6), the Belles had 17 kills and only four errors in the first set against the Spartans. Saint Mary’s took control early and won the set 25-21. The second set was more difficult for the Belles. The lead changed eight times and Manchester was ahead 24-22 when the Belles took control of the game and scored the final four points, winning 26-24.

The third set was no easier. The score was tied 14 times and the lead changed six times. Saint Mary’s ended up with the 27-25 win.

Schneider had the match-high 15 kills. Junior setter Danie Brink had 36 assists, which brings her to over 2,000 career assists.

“We still need to work on some consistency,” Kuschel said. “We fall into slumps and allow teams to get runs of three and four on us. If we want to take control of the match, that’s something we need to get better at.”

The Belles will wrap up the first round of conference play Wednesday against Albion at 7 p.m. on their home court. 

Contact Katie Heit at kheit@nd.edu