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SMC Volleyball: Saint Mary’s ends season with postseason on the line

By SAMANTHA ZUBA | Wednesday, October 30, 2013


The Belles close their regular season tomorrow against conference rival Adrian and have a chance to stay in the race for the MIAA postseason tournament.

The top four teams in the conference qualify for the championship tournament, and Saint Mary’s (11-14, 7-8 MIAA) currently sits in fifth place behind Kalamazoo. Kalamazoo (13-13, 7-7) still has two games left against national No. 1 Hope and No. 2 Calvin, so the Belles are in contention for the fourth spot, especially if they defeat the Bulldogs (11-15, 4-10) tomorrow.

When Saint Mary’s took on Adrian on Oct. 1, they lost 3-2. Despite winning the first two sets of the match, they dropped the last three sets and the game. Saint Mary’s was disappointed with the loss and could have shown more mental toughness, Belles coach Toni Elyea said. Now, the Belles have the conference tournament on the line.

“The team was very upset with the loss earlier in the season to Adrian,” Elyea said. “They are a great team, but we lacked some mental toughness to get the third set win. In our conference, no one is going to hand you the win. We will need to play well and take it. We want that top-four finish.”

Saint Mary’s posted a .209 attacking percentage in the match, but performed better in the first two sets than in the final three. The Belles recorded .239 and .444 percentages in the first in second sets, compared to just .103 in the third set, .167 in the fourth and .136 in the final set.

Elyea said the entire team is responsible for staying focused this time around, with the captains taking point.

“Our captains have done a great job leading this team,” Elyea said. “They care so much for each one of their teammates and they bring so many intangibles to our on court play, as well as our off court experiences. We also have so many vital role players and leaders on this year’s team, which is why we have such great team chemistry. We are looking for the whole team to bring that confidence and focus to get the win on Friday.”

Saint Mary’s squares off tomorrow against Adrian at 7 p.m. at home in the Angela Athletic Complex.

“I expect all of our players to come out and play the best volleyball that they are capable of,” Elyea said.

Contact Samantha Zuba at [email protected]