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SMC Volleyball: Belles look to continue success

Mike Ginocchio | Wednesday, October 9, 2013

After putting an end to a five-game losing streak by taking two of their last three matches, the Belles (7-11, 5-5 MIAA) will take on some familiar faces when they host Alma (9-10, 4-6 MIAA) tonight. The last time these two teams faced off on Sept. 7, the Belles were victorious in four sets  (25-21, 16-25, 25-22, 26-24).

Despite this, Belles coach Toni Elyea wants her team to treat this match no differently than any other match, to avoid falling into a false sense of security.

“We know they did not play their best the last time we faced them,” Elyea said. “They will be coming out on fire. We need to come out focused and ready to react well to anything they throw our way.”

Elyea said she looks to emphasize her team’s defensive strength during the match, as well as challenging players such as freshman setter Clare McMillan to play a major role.

“Our serve-receive has been fantastic, as well as our defense,” Elyea said. “We will need to play disciplined and aggressive in all areas tomorrow to get the win. We will also need to attack well. We will be looking for Clare to set up into more of a leadership role tomorrow night and come out confident and ready to run our offense.”

McMillan has compiled 659 assists this season, averaging 9.55 per set. Elsewhere, the Belles will look to rely on the hard-nosed play of junior outside hitter Kati Schneider and sophomore outside hitter Katie Hecklinski, who average 4.00 and 2.73 kills per set respectively. On defense, junior libero Meredith Mersits leads the team with 304 total digs this season and a 4.34 dig-per-set average.     The Scots will look to rely on senior middle hitter Lea Kooster who leads the team with 165 kills this season, as well as the balanced attack of senior middle hitter Rebecca Trosper (107 kills) and junior outside hitter Laura Walker (106 kills).  Elyea has no illusions of this being an easy match.

“If both teams are playing well it will be a tough battle,” Elyea said. “We know that every time we step out onto the court, it’s an opportunity to play well together as a team. That has been our focus for this season and will continue to be our focus.” The Belles take on the Scots tonight at Saint Mary’s. Play time begins at 7 P.M.

Contact Mike Ginocchio at mginocch@nd.edu