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SMC Volleyball: Belles sweep Albion

By Aaron Sant-Miller | Wednesday, October 10, 2012

On Wednesday, Saint Mary’s claimed its sixth conference win over MIAA opponent Albion in a three-set sweep, winning 25-18, 25-22, 25-18.

“I thought we played a great match,” Belles coach Toni Kuschel said. “We won in three, which was a goal going in. It was nice to accomplish that against a tough defensive team.”

For the Belles (11-9, 6-4 MIAA), the match took on an added value outside of being a key conference matchup in a hotly contested MIAA race, Kuschel said. Wednesday night was the Belles “Crush for the Cure” night in honor of Saint Mary’s Alumna Anne Blair Payne. The team garnered pledges and donations for Payne, a South Bend native and graduate in the Class of 2002, who has been diagnosed with Lymphoma.

“[Wednesday] was for Anne and we were able to raise a lot of money for her fight against Cancer,” Kuschel said. “The girls really played for her [last night] and that really shined through.”

Against Albion (2-19, 0-11 MIAA), the Belles stuck to their game plan, which was critical to the team’s performance, Kuschel said.

“We were able to win the serve and pass game. We put a lot of pressure on them so they weren’t able to run their big middles,” Kuschel said. “We just stuck with the game plan and executed. It’s nice to come out with a big win.”

Sophomore outside hitter Kati Schneider and freshman setter Abby White led the Belles offensively. Schneider led all players in the match with 15 kills, while White led all players with 34 assists.

“For [White], a freshman, to come in and play that composed, to be able to have those kinds of stats, was great,” Kuschel said. “We’re really proud of her and the way she played tonight.”

Also garnering her coach’s praise was sophomore middle hitter Melanie Kuczek. Kuczek finished second on the team with nine kills, all while hitting at 69 percent.

“For Melanie to play like that was great,” Kuschel said. “Her and Kati hitting the way they did was a huge part of our win [against Albion].”

Saint Mary’s now has the weekend off before they resume play next Tuesday. On Tuesday, the Belles travel to Adrian (11-14, 4-7 MIAA) for another conference matchup.

Contact Aaron Sant-Miller at [email protected]