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SMC Volleyball: Belles sweep MIAA foe Albion

Laura Coletti | Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Belles ended their season in strong form when they went on the road and defeated Albion on Friday night. Saint Mary’s (8-17, 6-10 MIAA) managed to fight back in each of the first two sets and ultimately pulled out the 3-0 sweep against the Britons (3-24, 0-16).

“It felt really great to play well and end on a high note this season,” Belles coach Toni Kuschel said.

Kuschel attributed a large part of Friday’s win to the outstanding play of junior setter Danie Brink. Brink hit at a .500 clip for the match, aced three serves and tallied 24 set assists.

“We were able to pass well, which allowed Danie to run our offense,” Kuschel said. “[She] played a great match.”

Sophomore middle hitter Christi Wyble paced the Belles on offense, finishing with a .625 hitting clip and four blocks for the match. The Belles were led on defense by senior libero and defensive specialist Meghann Rose, as well as freshman setter Annie Bodien and junior outside hitter Stephanie Bodien.

Kuschel said Friday’s win capped a solid season, despite numbers that may have shown otherwise.

“We had a successful season this year even though we did not end the season being a top-four team in the conference,” she said. “We were able to double our wins in conference play as well as have a better record than our 2010 season. More importantly, we played at a much higher level this season while remaining healthy.”

Looking forward, Kuschel has even higher expectations for her squad.

“Our team was able to compete at a very high level this year and I will be looking for them to work hard during the off-season to come back connected and even more ready to compete for a top spot in the conference,” she said. “We had a very young team this year with eight freshmen. We will be losing one senior, Meghann Rose, who will be leaving some big shoes to fill. She set a great example of what it takes to be a leader and a top libero in our conference.”

The team’s freshmen received significant playing time and experience this season, which should advance their development as they transition into returning players.

“I am very confident that they will come back next season with even more confidence and knowledge of what it will take to get us where we want to go,” Kuschel said.

Contact Laura Coletti at lcoletti@nd.edu