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SMC VOLLEYBALL: Belles edge Maroons in exhibition match

Ryan Kiefer | Wednesday, August 31, 2005

It may have only been a preseason scrimmage, but the level of intensity on the court at the Angela Athletic Complex Tuesday made it feel like the postseason.

When the dust settled, the Belles emerged victorious over the University of Chicago Maroons in five games, 30-26, 28-30, 29-31, 30-21 and 15-12.

The Belles came out firing early, taking leads in each of the first three games. Chicago proved to be a resilient bunch, however, using a 10-3 run in the first game to cut a 19-11 deficit to 22-21 advantage. The Belles hung on to win game one, but were not as fortunate in game two, which followed a similar pattern.

Again, the Maroons put together a 10-3 run to tie the game at 21 after the Belles had taken an early lead. After losing game two and falling in a see-saw battle in game three, the Belles played their most complete game in the fourth, dominating with crisp passing and timely hitting.

The final game saw Saint Mary’s take an early lead only to see Chicago once again rally to tie the game at 12-12. The Belles won the final three points culminating in junior Kristen Playko’s kill to secure the clinching point.

It was a very productive night for Saint Mary’s as coach Julie Schroeder-Biek was able to get all her players into the game. She was addressed the team’s lack of depth at the setter position by rotating Amanda David and Michelle Turley in to fill the hole. Schroeder-Biek was largely pleased with the results.

“I thought Amanda played well tonight,” the coach said. “We all have confidence in her, now it’s just a matter of building her confidence. I am proud of both Amanda and Michelle.”

The contest allowed the Belles to get some of their younger players valuable experience in a tight contest before the regular season begins this weekend. The more experienced players had the opportunity to shake early season nerves.

Schroeder-Biek was thrilled to get this much out of an exhibition contest.

“It was fun to see some of the first-year players out there,” Schroeder-Biek said. “We all had to respond to some jitters when they made runs at us. They are a solid team and very comparable to us. Tonight proved that we can finish [a match].”

Schroeder-Biek wanted to use this game as a gauge to evaluate her team’s strengths and weaknesses. At the conclusion of the contest, she was able to quickly identify areas that stood out.

“I thought we passed well which allowed the setters to run a good offense,” she said. “I think there is room for improvement in our blocking and communication at the net.”

The Belles will use the experience gained from tonight’s scrimmage when they travel to suburban Chicago this weekend to open the season at the Elmhurst College Invitational.