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SMC VOLLEYBALL: Belles to play Depauw after two home wins

Joe Meixell | Friday, September 19, 2008

After a day off, Saint Mary’s resumes play tonight at the DePauw Invitational, located at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind.

The Belles will take on North Central at 4 p.m. and DePauw at 8 p.m. On Saturday they will play Anderson at 10 a.m., and that afternoon they play Franklin, Gallaudet, Heidelberg or Rose-Hulman.

The team is coming off two consecutive home wins, the first time this season it has been able to string together consecutive victories. The Belles picked a good time to crank up the gas, as both games were conference matchups, boosting their MIAA record to 2-2.

Saint Mary’s success will depend upon the recent emergence of outside hitter Lorna Slupczynski. The 5-foot-8 junior had 25 kills against Albion and Olivet, both home matches. Even more impressive is that 11 of the 25 kills came during the opening sets of both matches. At 5-foot-8, Slupczynski is the shortest hitter on the team, but her non-stop motor and enthusiasm more than make up for her lack of height.

Joining Slupczynski in the impressive offensive assault is 5-foot-11 senior Kaela Hellmann, who is the only member of the team to have more kills over the last two games (27) than her junior counterpart. The senior also leads the team in kills on the season, with 101.

The Belles’ first opponent, North Central College, won its conference opener, beating the Augustana 3-2. Saint Mary’s will have to step up its play to try and contain North Central’s outstanding junior Stephanie Ryding, who will look to continue her hot streak after turning in a triple-double performance last Tuesday.