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SMC Volleyball: Belles recapture winning ways

Aaron Sant-Miller | Monday, September 10, 2012

After losing their first conference match of the season Sept. 4 against Trine, the Belles bounced back in their second conference fixture this weekend. Against rival Albion, Saint Mary’s brought home their first MIAA victory of the season in four sets, claiming a 25-19, 24-26, 25-15, 25-20 win.

“It’s definitely a good feeling, being 1-1 in the conference and 5-1 overall,” Belles coach Toni Kuschel said. “It’s definitely a good starting place and a win is always good.”

Sophomore outside hitter Kati Schneider, who had 14 kills, led the Belles offensively. Senior captain and setter Danie Brink did her part as well, as she added 35 helpers to her growing assist total. On top of that, Schneider and Brink had a combined five aces.

Yet even with great individual performances, Saint Mary’s team play was equally as prominent. A total of five players had double-digit digs, including 11 from Schneider and 10 from Brink. in that category defensive specialist outside hitterSophomore defensive specialist Samantha Grady and freshman outside hitter Katie Hecklinski, who both had 12, led the Belles in that category.

“Having all those girls with double-digit digs is awesome,” Kuschel said. “Everyone contributed defensively.”

For Hecklinski, it was the second match in a row that she led the team in digs. Hecklinski tallied a team high nine digs against conference rival Trine (7-1, 3-0 MIAA) in the Belles’ loss.

“Hecklinski is just doing an awesome job,” Kuschel said. “For a freshman to be so composed and in control defensively is an awesome thing to see.”

While the team played well as a whole, Kuschel said that the Belles performance in the match was far from flawless.

“We are continuing to have a lot of unforced errors,” Kuschel said. “Serving was a big struggle for us Saturday.”

Thus, there remains room to improve for this young Belles team. With only one upperclassman on the roster in Brink, Saint Mary’s is younger and less experienced than almost all its opponents. Still, the Belles have improved and look to keep doing so, Kuschel said.

“We saw some things that we worked really hard on [improving],” she said. “Other things, we still need to continue to work on. It’s early in the season so it’s expected, but we still have things to work on.”

The Belles will look to do just that this week when they Belles will host another conference rival in, Adrian (4-4, 0-3 MIAA). Kuschel said at home,, the Belles would look to play even better than they did in their win over Albion.

“We need to play better than we did this weekend,” said Kuschel. “We had a lot of unforced errors that we’re just not really happy with that we need to clean up.”

The Belles will not only look to improve, but also nab their second conference win, sliding above .500 in a competitive MIAA race.

Saint Mary’s opportunity will come on Wednesday, when they host Adrian at 7 p.m.

Contact Aaron Sant-Miller at asantmil@nd.edu