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Belles show heart in loss

Justin Stetz | Monday, November 1, 2004

In a season full of hope and promise, Saint Mary’s finished its final four games in the same way they began – with heart. The Benedictine Tournament presented the Belles with a big challenge as they faced some very strong competition. They only managed one victory in the two-day affair, but played hard all along the way. On Friday, the Belles opened up against Monmouth College. Saint Mary’s ended the match losing in three-straight, but kept it close. The Fighting Scots jumped out to an early lead by beating the Belles 30-27 in the first game. The second game’s outcome was similar as the Belles fell by the same score. In the final game, Saint Mary’s didn’t let up and played hard even after dropping the first two, eventually losing 30-26. With little time to regroup, the Belles hit the floor again following their first contest and battled Clarke College. Saint Mary’s cruised to their first non-conference victory of the year as they defeated Clarke in three games. The Belles took the first one without much of a problem, winning 30-22. The Crusaders closed the gap in game two, but ultimately lost 30-25. Up two games, the Belles fended off their opponents’ last charge and came away with the match win by a score of 30-28. The second day offered an even bigger challenge for the Belles as the competition continued to get better. In their third game of the tournament, the Belles faced Benedictine University. The Eagles had their hands full with the Belles’ attack in the first two games. Benedictine barely won the first game by a score of 32-30. Saint Mary’s evened the series by claiming game two in a wild finish, winning 31-19. But the team completely fell apart in the third game, losing 30-8 and also dropped the fourth set, 30-25.The last challenge would be the most difficult for the Belles as they faced Millikin College who came into the tournament with a record of 24-8. Millikin won the first set, but the Belles fought hard and tied the match at one game a piece with a 30-26 victory. Saint Mary’s lost a heartbreaking third game by the score of 30-28. Down two games to one, the Belles put it all on the line in their last regular season game of the year only to come up short, 30-25. The final four games made the Belles 6-18 overall this year. But after beginning the season 1-8, the Belles gradually improved. Michelle Turley who has been consistently one of Saint Mary’s best players, leading the team in kills and finishing second in digs, was named to the All-Tournament team. Now the Belles must prepare for the MIAA Tournament. They play their first game Thursday against second-ranked Calvin College. “We feel that every MIAA team we have played against this year is beatable,” Turley said. “In a tournament scenario any team can win.”