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SMC Volleyball: Belles split weekend matches

Nick Boyle | Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Saint Mary’s split a pair of contests Saturday, dropping a 3-1 decision to Olivet before bouncing back to beat Finlandia 3-1.
Despite starting well against the Comets, the Belles eventually lost the closely contested match to their conference foe.

“We came out really strong [against] Olivet on Saturday,” Belles coach Toni Kuschel said. “The first set was a great team performance. In the third and fourth set we had a hard time adjusting to what we saw happening. We also did not hit well as a team.”

Although Saint Mary’s did not win, Kuschel praised one of the team’s leaders.

“[Sophomore middle hitter] Melanie Kuczek had a great performance on Saturday with 12 kills and 6 blocks,” she said. “We will be looking for more of the same from her going into this week versus Alma.”

The Belles had a quick turnaround after the loss to Olivet, taking on Finlandia immediately afterward. The non-conference match provided everyone an opportunity to play, and helped Saint Mary’s bounce back from the previous loss.

“Everyone got a chance to play on Saturday [against] Finlandia,” Kuschel said. “It was great to see our freshmen go into the match and play well together. It was also good to get the win.”

The Belles now face another quick turnaround, traveling to Alma tonight for an MIAA match. The contest is one of three conference matches left on their schedule.

“We will need to hit well versus Alma,” Kuschel said. “We will need to serve tough and eliminate our errors to get the win.”
A Belles victory will move them into a tie for fourth place in the conference, good for a spot in the MIAA tournament.

“We want to go into this match [against] Alma and get back to playing the level of volleyball that we are capable of,” Kuschel said. “Our ball control was just not there this past week and we are working very hard to make some improvements going into this very tough week of volleyball.”

A place in the tournament would be a first for the Belles under Kuschel.

“We are extremely proud of our team accomplishments so far and it would be great to finish out our season playing the way we know we are more than capable of,” Kuschel said.

The Belles take on Alma tonight at 7 p.m. in Alma, Mich.

Contact Nick Boyle at nboyle1@nd.edu