The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



SMC Volleyball: Belles get early win over Trine

Conor Kelly | Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Belles traveled to Trine University in Angola, Ind. Tuesday and emerged with a four-set victory, 3-1 (26-24, 25-20, 13-25, 25-23). The win pushed the Belles (3-6, 2-3 MIAA) into sixth place in the MIAA.

The match showed the Belles at their best and their worst as the first, second and fourth sets saw Saint Mary’s gut out close victories while it was trounced 25-13 in the third.

Belles coach Toni Kuschel saw both positives and negatives in her team’s play.

“I was very happy with our play overall this match,” Kuschel said. “But we gave them the third set by making too many errors. We weren’t making them earn their points. At one point I believe we made seven errors in a row.”

However, the fact that those errors were physical rather than mental was encouraging to Kuschel.

“Our hitters were making the right decisions and the right reads,” Kuschel said. “But the balls kept sailing just long or just wide.”

While Kuschel might have feared her squad would wilt in the fourth set after its performance in the third, she expressed the utmost confidence in her team going into the last set.

“We were very confident going into the fourth,” Kuschel said. “It was more about playing as well as we knew we could.”

Freshman Katie Schneider led the Belles offensively as she notched 15 kills on the day. Junior Stephanie Bodien added 12 and junior Allison Zandarski 8.

“Getting one-on-one opportunities for our outside hitters was a big emphasis of ours in practice this week,” Kuschel said. “Their percentages might not have been as high as they have been, but that was mostly due to errors in the third set.”

Junior Danie Brink once again proved to be the engine behind the transition from offense to defense for the Belles. She finished with 16 digs and 35 assists.

“Brink played very well,” Kuschel said. “She did a great job adjusting to what Trine was doing and executing the plays that we had worked on.”

The most encouraging signs for the Belles were defense and timely plays. Trine hit just .051 on the match, and the team consistently won points in big spots.

“We played very composed today, especially on defense,” Kuschel said. “Whenever the play seemed to be over the ball just kept getting back over the net. Our hitters played very well, and our serving accuracy was amazing. They made big plays at the right time.”

The Belles resume action on the road against Hope College at 7 p.m. Friday.