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SMC Volleyball: Thunder rolls over Irish in five-set Belles loss

Mike Ginocchio | Wednesday, September 18, 2013


The Belles powered through five intense sets of play Tuesday, before ending with a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to Trine. 

Saint Mary’s (5-6, 3-2 MIAA) started slow against the Thunder (6-8, 1-3 MIAA), which Belles coach Toni Elyea said will be something she works with her team to adjust.

“We did not take advantage of the first two sets,” Elyea said. “Trine came out on fire and we dug ourselves a huge hole. We need to play efficiently from beginning, middle and end of the match.”

The match began as Trine notched six straight points, before the Belles clawed back to a 25-20 set victory. The Belles coasted to a 25-19 victory in the second set, but it was the third set where Trine took control. The Thunder raced to a 5-1 lead in the third set to win 25-18, and then traded points for the rest of the match to win in five. 

Coach Elyea noted several standout individual performances throughout the night, including the 16 digs recorded by sophomore outside hitter Kathryn Hecklinski.0

“Kathryn Hecklinski hit very well this evening,” Elyea said. “She was very efficient on the outside in finding holes in the defense. We had five hitters in double-digit digs, which was fantastic. Our team did a great job reading our hitters.”

Elyea was also pleased with the team’s defense, in particular the blocking.

“Our team did a fantastic job blocking this evening,” Elyea said. “This is the best we have done as a team.”

The Belles will have little time to recover from this loss before they enter a veritable gauntlet with two straight games against two teams ranked No. 1 and 2 both in conference play and the country. First the Belles go against Hope, whose only loss was to Calvin, the next team the Belles face.

Elyea said she welcomes the upcoming challenges.

“We are looking forward to facing the number one and two teams in the country,” Elyea said. “We know if we can speed up our offense and play well defensively it will be a great match. We know that it will be tough but we are up for the challenge.”

The Belles return to action on Friday, when they travel to Holland, MI., to take on Hope at 7 p.m.

Contact Mike Ginocchio at [email protected]