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Belles lose game, but gain confidence

Justin Schuver | Friday, October 3, 2003

As strange as it sounds, there are times when a loss can mean more than a win. The Belles had such a loss Thursday night.

Saint Mary’s (10-7) fell to non-conference opponent Bethel at home by a score of 26-30, 28-30, 22-30.

Despite losing in straight sets, the team’s coach believes that a loss actually will help her team more in the long run than their two earlier wins against less-talented opponents.

“It was a good match,” Julie Schroeder-Biek said. “I felt a lot better coming out of there with a loss than after our two earlier wins.

“We definitely lifted our level of play.”

The Belles came into the match on a two-game winning streak, one against Olivet – the worst team in the MIAA standings – and another against a less-talented Manchester team.

Bethel was not the same caliber. Right away, Saint Mary’s knew that they were facing one of their best opponents of the year.

“This team was probably the best blockers we’ve seen so far,” Schroeder-Biek said. “We didn’t pass well so it was difficult to get the middle established, and they really parked on our outside hitters.”

Outside hitter Kristen Playko led the team with 12 kills, a relatively low stat which was almost certainly affected by a stellar Bethel defense.

Bethel wasn’t the only team who could play defensively, though.

“We were very, very scrappy out there on defense,” Schroeder-Biek said. “The ball didn’t go down without a fight.”

The Belles go on the road Saturday to begin the second half of their MIAA season. Saint Mary’s will face Kalamazoo Saturday at 11 a.m.

Earlier in the year, Saint Mary’s dispatched Kalamazoo at home in five sets, one of the Belles’ two conference wins this year. But just because they beat them once doesn’t mean that Schroeder-Biek is expecting an easy encore.

“When we beat [Kalamazoo] at home it was a really tough match,” she said. “They’ve played really well since that loss; they’ve been competitive in every conference match.

“I’m glad we had this match tonight because it really raised our level of play, which we’ll need on Saturday.”