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Chicago defeats Belles in 3

Joe Meixell | Thursday, September 2, 2004

The Belles got their first taste of competition Wednesday night as they took on the University of Chicago.

The game was a good way for the team to see where it stands going into the 2004 season. A year ago, Saint Mary’s started its preseason against the Maroons and faced them again during the regular season – winning in three straight games.

“Tonight, the score really didn’t show what the team was trying to accomplish,” defensive specialist Michelle Gary said after the match in which the Belles were swept in three games. “We we’re just trying to mix up the offense and find out our strengths.”

A few bright spots were especially seen in the play of a couple of much improved juniors. Outside attacker Michelle Turley, who did not see much action last year, had a very good game. Middle hitter Bender also did a great job, picking up right where she left off at the end of last season. Bender ended the 2003 campaign with 510 total attacks to go along with 164 kills and 126 digs.

“Everyone had strengths and weaknesses during the game,” Gary said. “Michelle Turley played very strong up front, while Shelly Bender played well all-around, both in the front and the back.”

Today Saint Mary’s begins the regular season as it takes on the Scots of Alma College at 7:00 p.m. The home opener will be the Belles’ first game in conference play. League play is one area the team struggled with last year, finishing 2003 with a 5-10 record.

A win is extremely important for the Belles who hope to take their first step towards a title.

In 2003, Alma College finished the season on top of the MIAA. They compiled a 13-1 record in the conference and finished with an overall record of 31-6. The Scots beat the Belles in four games during the season.

“[Today] versus Alma we will go in very enthusiastic and excited,” Gary said. “It’s our first game, and it begins MIAA competition, and we will take the positives from the scrimmage and focus on our strengths.”

On Saturday, Saint Mary’s will travel to the University of Saint Francis where it will play at 2:00 p.m.