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Belles look to reverse woes

Justin Stetz | Friday, October 29, 2004

Beginning today Saint Mary’s will play its final four games of the regular season. The Belles are currently on a five-game losing streak matching their longest skid since beginning the season 0-5. Their recent lapse has dropped their regular season record to 5-15 overall. Saint Mary’s will travel to Illinois to partake in the Benedictine Tournament, a two-day trip which pits the Belles against four non-conference teams. So far this season, the Belles have played four teams outside of their league and have yet to win. The Belles will take on Monmouth College beginning at 4 p.m. The Fighting Scots come into the contest with a record of 17-10. Saint Mary’s did not play Monmouth last year and will have its hands full against a very good volleyball team. Following the match, the Belles will have little time for rest as they immediately take the court again against Clarke College at 8 p.m. The Crusaders are only 5-28 this year.At the conclusion of tonight’s games, Saint Mary’s will be at it once again on Saturday to finish up the last two matches of the tournament. At 10 a.m., the Belles will play Benedictine University, the tournament’s host. The Eagles have had an up-and-down season until now, winning their first four and then dropping seven of their next nine. They are currently 16-14 on the year.Their final match begins at noon and the Belles will be facing one of their most difficult opponents of the year. The Big Blue of Millikin College are 24-8 this year, and Saint Mary’s must bring its best game if it hopes to have a shot at coming away with a victory.Saint Mary’s will be relying on players such as Michelle Turley, Elise Rupright and Shelly Bender to lead the team’s offense. The Belles will look to Anne Cusack to continue her dominance on defense. She leads the team with 323 digs. Teammate Amanda David should also help the defense after accumulating 131 digs this year. At the completion of the Benedictine Tournament, the Belles will begin the MIAA Tournament which begins on Tuesday. The games have yet to be determined, but Saint Mary’s, who finished seventh in the league, will probably face Kalamazoo College who currently resides in third place in the conference. This weekend’s tournament will hopefully give the Belles a chance to polish up their game and tie up any loose ends that still remain. It is vital they finish the season strong if they hope to have any chance at making a run in the conference tournament.