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SMC Volleyball: Belles have busy week ahead

Michael Bryan | Friday, October 13, 2006

Saint Mary’s will have little time to relax this fall break as it hits the road for matches with Alma, Windsor and Kalamazoo.The Belles are coming off a tough loss on Senior Night at home against second place Hope. After falling behind following a loss in the opening game, Saint Mary’s took a 2-1 game lead on the visiting Flying Dutch. Unfortunately for the Belles, Hope stormed back in the final two games, taking 30-28 and 15-8 victories to clinch the victory. Hope’s strong performance was led by Nora Slenk, who recorded a team-high 19 kills to go with 12 digs. Senior Deena VanAssen had 25 digs to lead the team defensively. The win improved Hope’s conference record to 9-1, 16-6 overall.For the Belles, Kristen Playko and Anne Cusack both put up tremendous efforts in their last home games – Playko with a double-double of 20 kills and 21 digs, and Cusack tallying 23 digs of her own. Freshman Lorna Slupczynski netted a match-high 23 kills and 12 digs for a double-double of her own. With the loss, the Belles dropped to 14-7 on the year at 7-5 remained in fourth place in the MIAA.Saint Mary’s coach Julie Schroeder-Biek said the loss does not change the Belles attitude toward the rest of the season. “Our goals are still very much our goals,” she said. “One loss doesn’t change that.”Saint Mary’s first match of the road trip will be Saturday with conference foe Alma. The Scots are 8-10 on the season, 5-5 in conference play. Led by senior Kelsee Krull, the Scots will look to avenge their 3-0 loss at Saint Mary’s Oct. 8.Windsor will be the Belles’ next opponent as the team heads north of the border to face Windsor in an Oct. 18 exhibition matchup. The Lancers, members of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Conference, have not played any regular season matches to date.The Belles road trip will conclude with a conference match against 7-12 Kalamazoo. The Hornets are 3-7 in the MIAA, one of those losses a 3-0 sweep at the hands of Saint Mary’s earlier this season.Although the MIAA tournament is less than a month away, Schroeder-Biek said the team is not looking past its next game.”We have very high goals we want to accomplish which include the conference tournament, but we can only achieve these goals one game at a time,” Schroeder-Biek said. “We’re in the home stretch with some tough matches ahead of us, we just need to take things one game at a time and finish strong.”