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SMC Volleyball: Belles face two ranked squads

By Nick Boyle | Friday, September 14, 2012

After back to back conference wins, Saint Mary’s will try to keep its winning streak alive when it travels to Carthage this weekend for the Carthage Tournament.

With conference play in full swing for the Belles (6-1, 2-1 MIAA), this weekend will offer a chance for the Belles to improve against non-conference foes as they prepare for the rest of the conference season.

“We need our level of intensity to stay consistent and to continue to work hard and work smart on the court this weekend,” Belles head coach Toni Kuschel said. “We want to play to the best of our ability and come home an even better team.”

Saint Mary’s will take on two nationally ranked teams in No. 16 Carthage College (4-1, 1-0 CCIW) and No. 13 University of Chicago (6-2), with Dominican and Illinois Wesleyan rounding out the Belles’ opponents. Facing off against two ranked teams should help the Belles prepare for tougher opponents down the line, Kuschel said.

“Having two ranked teams in our own conference, we want to use these matches [against Carthage and Chicago] to get ourselves mentally and physically prepared for our next two weeks of tough conference play,” Kuschel said. “We expect everyone we face this weekend to be tough.”

Saint Mary’s is coming off a home conference win in which the Belles defeated Albion, 3-1. Kuschel said she hopes her team can keep up its momentum against the weekend’s opponents.

“We are so excited to have played so well at home in front of a great crowd of friends and family,” Kuschel said. “There is always room for improvement but we are very happy and confident with how we played against a tough conference team.”

Kuschel hopes her team will step up and compete this weekend against nationally-ranked opponents.

“We need everyone to step up and play well this weekend,” Kuschel said. “We will need our defense to be solid and continue to have great presence on the court so that our setters and hitters can do their job in the front row.”

Saint Mary’s will play four matches at Carthage in Kenosha, Wisc., this weekend, beginning Friday at 3:30 p.m.

Contact Nick Boyle at