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Belles set to face tough Calvin team in weekend road match

Joe Meixell | Friday, October 8, 2004

Friday night’s game will be no walk in the park for the Saint Mary’s volleyball team. Coming off a tough loss to Kalamazoo College, the road does not get any easier as the Belles take on Calvin College today at 7 p.m.

The Knights are in second place in the MIAA with a record of 8-1 and 13-5 overall. Calvin’s only loss of the year came against first place and undefeated Alma College. In its first match of the season, Calvin dominated the Belles and cruised to an easy, three-game sweep victory. Saint Mary’s was unable to do much on offense or defense as they were outscored 90-67.

Saint Mary’s players had trouble getting anything started during the game on both sides of the ball. Amanda David was one of the few players who found any sort of success as she recorded nine digs on defense.

Ann Cusack had one of her best games of the season with 19 digs. The offense struggled all day long with Elise Rupright and Michelle Turley leading the way for the Belles with 15 kills collected between them in the contest.

Cusack has been the strength of the defensive unit all year long. She registered another 10 digs against Kalamazoo last game and still leads the team in this category. The team will need her defensive skills against Calvin to have any shot at winning.

Finding some sort of equilibrium has been a problem for Saint Mary’s all year long. In most of their matches, either the offense or defense has performed well with little help from the other. There have been only a few times when both areas have come together in the same game.

“The offense has played well and the defense has been strong,” Michelle Gary said. “But putting both parts together has been a challenge. Many times the offense plays hard, but the defense lacks and when the defense gets going the offense slows down.”

The offense and defense both must find a rhythm against the Knights or the outcome will be the same as it was in the first game. Saint Mary’s cannot afford to lose many more conference games if they wish to continue moving up in the MIAA.

This will be the Belles second match of five consecutive away games against conference teams. Saint Mary’s dropped the first one on Wednesday against Kalamazoo.