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SMC Volleyball: Belles endure four losses in tough weekend

Nick Boyle | Monday, September 17, 2012

Saint Mary’s lost all four matches it played this weekend at the Carthage Tournament in Kenosha, Wisc

Despite the results on the scoreboard, Belles coach Toni Kuschel said she was pleased with her team’s performance.

“I thought the team did a fantastic job this weekend. We were able to play really well versus nationally ranked teams,” Kuschel said. “Taking a set from Chicago was a big accomplishment. It showed a lot of heart winning that close set.”

The Belles (6-5) dropped 3-0 decisions Friday against Dominican and No. 16 Carthage. The Belles were on the wrong side of a 3-0 contest against Dominican (12-2) and dropped a 3-0 match to Carthage (6-3).

“We needed to be stronger at the net, in transition and remain consistent in our level of focus and intensity,” Kuschel said. “When it’s there we play great volleyball.”

On Saturday, Saint Mary’s lost 3-0 to Illinois Wesleyan (7-7) by a 3-0 score and won its first set of the weekend before falling 3-1 to No. 13 Chicago (10-2).

“Our team went in knowing it was going to be a tough weekend,” Kuschel said. “We wanted this weekend to get us mentally and physically prepared for the next two weeks of conference play and I believe we were able to do that.”

Although the team did not fare well on the scoreboard, sophomore defensive specialist Samantha Grady believes her team can take many positves from the experience.

“The tournament exposed us to some very talented teams. We were forced to rise to the occasion and compete,” Grady said. “We stayed positive and left the tournament a better team than when we arrived.”

With its next conference game Tuesday, Kuschel hopes her team can step up and learn from the weekend.

“Our hitters know that we did not hit as well as we should have this weekend,” Kuschel said. “We will need all of them to step up and make big plays when they are needed if we are going to win on Tuesday. If we’re going to win, we need to play our game, focus on the controllables and play together.”

Saint Mary’s hosts conference foe Kalamazoo on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Contact Nick Boyle at nboyle1@nd.edu