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SMC Volleyball: Belles reach for postseason

Nick Boyle | Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Saint Mary’s hosts conference foe Albion tonight in an attempt to keep pace in the MIAA as conference play approaches its final stretch.

A win for the Belles (10-9, 5-4 MIAA) would put them in a tie for third place in the conference, which is good enough to qualify for the MIAA conference tournament at season’s end.
Belles head coach Toni Kuschel knows her team must come out focused against their conference rival, Kuschel said.

“We want to go into tomorrow night and play a tough match,” Kuschel said. “They have a great middle so it will be important to come out strong and serving tough to put the pressure on them.”

Though Albion (2-18, 0-11) has yet to win a conference game this year, Saint Mary’s cannot underestimate its opponent, Kuschel said. She expects her team to have to deal with a very tough opponent in Albion.

“We expect Albion to come out strong,” Kuschel said. “They have won a lot of sets this season against some tough conference teams. We will need to play at a high level in order to get the win.”

With conference play hitting its final stretch, Kuschel knows her the team can’t afford to fall behind in the race. A top-four finish in the conference would guarantee the Belles their first shot in the MIAA conference tournament.

“Tonight’s game is very important for us, as a win would put us in a solid third or fourth place position in the conference,” Kuschel said.

Along with the important game, tonight will serve as the Belles’ “Crush for the Cure” night, a fundraiser toward finding the cure for lymphoma.

“Tonight will also be a big match for us as it is our ‘Crush for the Cure’ night,” Kuschel said. “The team will be raising funds for a Saint Mary’s alumna Anne Blair Payne’ [class of 2002] in her courageous battle against lymphoma. We hope that you will all come and wear white to our match in support of Anne.”

The night holds a special place in the Belles hearts as they look to support Payne.

“It’s not every day that you get to play for more than just your team,” Kuschel said. “We get a change to play for a greater good. Tonight is in support of Anne and her courageous battle with lymphoma. We are hoping that our Crush night will bring in funds to help support her and her battle to crush her cancer.”

Saint Mary’s hopes to defeat Albion and support cancer awareness tonight at 7 p.m.

Contact Nick Boyle at nboyle1@nd.edu