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Belles ready for MIAA rival Alma

Katie Heit | Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Saint Mary’s is set for a tough match against conference rival Alma Wednesday.

The Belles (2-5, 1-2 MIAA) are looking to improve their MIAA record against Alma (5-2, 2-1). The Scots have traditionally proved to be tough conference competition, and this year is no different, Belles coach Toni Kuschel said.

“There’s no easy win in our conference,” Kuschel said. “Alma’s typically in the top four teams. We’re all just trying to

get into the final tournament.”

The Belles have gotten off to a slow start with a conference record of 1-2, but Kuschel said they have a chance every time they step onto the court.

“It’s still early in the season,” Kuschel said. “We still have a lot of room to improve.”

Despite the tough losses, Kuschel said she is proud of the progress her young team has made thus far.

“We set well,” Kuschel said. “Our serves have been great so far and we hit really well. One thing we need to improve on is having our setter really run our offense well.”

Kuschel cited the leadership of the seniors as a key factor in the positive morale of her players. While she has no complaints about her team’s spirit, Kuschel knows that her team has a few areas it needs to improve upon before its matchup against the Scots.

“Our middle has been consistent and we need to keep that up,” Kuschel said, “but our outside hitters definitely need to score more. We definitely need to do a better job of capitalizing on our opportunities.”

Kuschel is not worried about her team’s current standing in the conference. Her team plays in one of the toughest conferences in the nation, with Calvin and Hope both ranked nationally. But in the end, every team is just trying to claim one of the top four spots.

Wednesday’s contest against Alma will be a good indication of the improvements St. Mary’s has made.

“No game that we walk into we expect to win [easily],” Kuschel said. “We just take each game as it comes and do our best.”

The Belles will set up against the Scots tonight at 7 p.m. at the Angela Athletic Facility.