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SMC Volleyball: Team looks to rebound after falling to Adrian

Michael Blasco | Thursday, September 4, 2008

After a promising start to the season, Saint Mary’s hit its first roadblock Tuesday night.

The Belles (3-2 overall record, 0-1 MIAA) are coming off a disappointing conference loss to Adrian but hope to shift back into gear tonight against a tough Bethel squad (7-1). The match will be played at the Pilots’ Wiekamp Athletic Center in Mishawaka, Ind.

Saint Mary’s burst out of the gate by going 3-1 at the Thomas More Invitational last weekend. Two Belles players, senior Cathy Kurczak and junior Lorna Slupczynski, were named to the All-Tournament Team. The Belles struggled early last season, and finished with a 6-10 MIAA record. Starting strong is a high priority for the team this time around.

“Last year, we struggled at the beginning of the season, especially, but by the end we had really started to click,” Schroeder-Biek said. 

Adrian claimed the victory in straight sets. Offensive inconsistency and defensive lapses – which had also surfaced during the Thomas More Invitational – sealed the Belles’ fate. Attack errors were often the tipping points of sets, notably with the crucial second set being decided by three consecutive Belles errors late in a tied game. Schroeder-Biek focused on fundamentals this week in practice.

“What I think it comes down to is connections,” Coach Schroeder-Biek said. “We need to stay connected with our teammates. We need to celebrate our successes on the court and pick each other up when we are down. We need to connect as teammates before we can expect to really compete as a team.”

Bethel, on the other hand, heads into tonight’s match coming off a first-place tournament finish at the Judson University Eagle Invitational and six straight victories overall. Just one of those wins was even pushed to five sets. The Pilots suffered their only loss of the season late last month against No. 25 Mount Vernon Nazarene in five sets at the UMD Early Bird Tournament.

The match begins tonight at 7 p.m. at Bethel’s Wiekamp Athletic Center in Mishawaka, Ind.