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SMC Volleyball: Belles triumph in NYC

By Samantha Zuba | Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Belles swept a doubleheader against nonconference opponents Montclair State and Hunter College in New York on Saturday.

Saint Mary’s defeated Montclair State, 3-0, and triumphed over Hunter, 3-1, at the Hunter Sportsplex

Belles coach Toni Elyea said Saint Mary’s (11-14, 7-8 MIAA) enjoyed the trip and the competition from Montclair State (15-9, 5-3 NJAC), who is fourth in its conference, and Hunter (14-11, 6-1 CUN), who sits at third in its conference.

“The Belles had an amazing trip to New York City,” Elyea said. “We enjoyed the opportunities to meet some of our fellow alumnae and see the sights, as well as play some great competition.”

Saint Mary’s turned in one of its best hitting performances of the season against Montclair State. The Belles posted a .252 attacking percentage for the match. Sophomore outside hitter Katie Hecklinski smashed 10 kills, while junior middle hitter Melanie Kuczek added nine kills and had  a .467 kill percentage. 

Saint Mary’s held the Red Hawks to a -.037 percentage behind the strength of 61 digs, six block assists and one solo block by Kuczek.

Elyea said Saint Mary’s ran an efficient offense because its ball control provided the team with attack opportunities.

“We had great ball control over the weekend, which allowed our setters to run a faster offense,” Elyea said. “We were able to swing with complete confidence this past weekend because of our defenders passing abilities.”

Freshman setter Clare McMillan set up most of the Belles’ attacks, as she finished with 31 assists against the Red Hawks and 43 assists against Hunter.

Elyea praised McMillan’s composure and performance as a first-year starter.

“I am very proud of her and all that she has accomplished this season so far,” Elyea said. “Clare is a very composed athlete, which allows her to play well no matter what point in the set we are on.”

Hecklinski benefited from McMillan’s sets and pounded 15 kills against Hunter. Junior outside hitter Kati Schneider also posted 15 kills, and junior defensive specialist Samantha Grady had 15 digs to lead the Belles to a win over Hunter.

Saint Mary’s hit for a .190 attacking percentage and held the Hawks to .106 percentage, as the Belles recorded 68 digs, six block assists and six solo blocks, all by Kuczek.

The Belles end their regular season against Adrian on Friday at 7 p.m., in the Angela Athletic Complex.

Contact Samantha Zuba at szuba@nd.edu