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SMC Volleyball: Belles defeat Olivet, prepare for tournament

By Katie Heit | Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Belles swept Olivet in all three sets Wednesday to roll to a 3-0 win during their Dig for the Cure event. The convincing victory gives the Belles momentum going into the upcoming UW-Oshkosh Tournament this weekend.

The Belles took an early lead in the first set and maintained it throughout with a strong showing from junior outside hitter Stephanie Bodien and freshman outside hitter Kati Schneider, who displayed aggressive attacking throughout the game. The Belles secured the win 25-15.

In the second set, Olivet hung tight with the Belles, tying the game eight times before Saint Mary’s took definitive control to win 25-18.

“We came out a little slow in the second set, but we were able to put some tough serves over the net,” Belles coach Toni Kuschel said. “Both of their middles are really good and we served them tough.”

In the final set, Olivet only once managed to get within one point of the Belles advantage before Saint Mary’s pulled ahead thanks to some key kills by Christi Wyble. Kuschel credited all of her hitters in the 25-15 victory.

“We had so many people really step up and hit well tonight,” Kuschel said. “All of our hitters really connected.”

Wyble hit .625 in the match with five kills. Bodien led the squad with 11 kills and hit .500 throughout the game. Junior captain and setter Danie Brink led the team with 30 set assists, a match high.

The Belles return to action Friday at UW-Oshkosh, where they will kick off a span of four matches in four days. From there, the tough week continues as the Belles gear up to face conference rival Alma on Oct. 18, followed by senior night on Oct. 21 against Trine and Hope on Oct. 22.

“We’re definitely going to take it one game at a time, one point at a time,” Kuschel said. “We need to play our game. We already know what’s coming our way. We can’t be focused on everything they’re going to do, we just have to get out there and play.”

With so many games in such a short period of time, Kuschel said she is making sure her team remains focused.

“We have a lot of team activities planned over the next week,” Kuschel said. “Having a lot of structure and staying together as a team are definitely key aspects to remaining focused.”

Kuschel said the break from school provides a good opportunity for her team to come together and reach its peak performance level.

“It’s definitely a time where they can take a bit of a breather and reconnect as a team, which will only make us stronger,” Kuschel said.

The Belles will face UW-Oshkosh in Oshkosh, Wisc., on Friday at 5:30 p.m.

Contact Katie Heit at kheit@nd.edu