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Belles drop after good start

Samantha Leonard | Monday, October 15, 2007

Saint Mary’s went 2-2 at the Millikin Invitational in Decatur, Ill. this weekend. The Belles won their first two matches on Friday before dropping contests with losses to Central Iowa and host school Millikin.

Saint Mary’s started the weekend with a 3-0 win over Franklin College. The Belles never trailed in the match and coasted to an easy victory. Junior middle blocker Kaela Hellmann led the team nine kills and 13 digs. Hellmann was later named to the all-tournament team for her play during the weekend.

Sophomore outside hitter Lorna Slupczynski contributed to the win with eight kills and seven digs before coming out early due to an injury.

“Lorna Slupczynski was sidelined most of Saturday due to some recurring shoulder and knee problems,” Belles coach Julie Schroeder-Biek said.

The Belles struggled to replace her throughout the rest of the tournament.

Saint Mary’s was able to pick up their second sweep of the day in its night match against Fontbonne. The Belles played three tough games (30-23, 37-35, 30-24) but were able to hold on in all of them to pick up the win.

Hellmann was a leader again with her nine kills and 16 defensive digs. Junior middle blocker Cathy Kurczak helped the cause with 12 kills and a .444 hitting percentage in the victory. Freshman middle blocker Andrea Sasgen was a leader on both defense and offense adding 15 kills and four block assists and two solo blocks.

Senior setter Amanda David dished out 48 assists. David also helped on the defensive side of the game with 11 digs, which gave David her eighth double-double on the season.

The Belles did not fare as well in their second day against some more impressive competition.

They started the day against No. 19 Central Iowa, and then finished the tournament against Millikin. The Dutch defeated Saint Mary’s 30-14, 25-30, 30-18, 30-17. Although the Belles did pull out a win in game two, the Dutch held complete control of the other three games.

Millikin also kept control of the Belles, defeating them in a three game sweep. The Big Blue defeated Saint Mary’s 30-17, 30-19, 30-24, never letting them into the game.

Schroder-Biek was impressed with her teams effort overall.

“I felt that they really played together well this weekend,” she said. “Saturday, we definitely struggled and that was frustrating.  But overall, it was a good weekend. We didn’t have the same “stand out” every game, they all kind of took turns.”

The Belles, who are 9-14 overall, return to conference play this Tuesday when take on Albion at home.