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SMC Volleyball

Belles sweep conference foes over weekend

| Sunday, September 7, 2014

Saint Mary’s kicked off their home conference schedule in style, following up its four-set win against Olivet on Friday with an impressive 3-0 victory over rival Albion on Saturday. The pair of wins for the Belles marks the first time the team has started with two straight home conference victories.

Against the Comets (2-5, 1-2), the Belles (3-4, 2-1 MIAA) rallied after losing the opening set, 25-23. After tying the game 21-21 and 22-22, the team could not hold on, but came back strong in a back-and-forth second set. Despite 11 ties, the Belles strung together six unanswered points and held on for the set victory.

After that, Saint Mary’s came from behind again to win the third set, 27-25, and clinched the victory after never trailing in the fourth set, 25-22.

Though the Belles were initially down 14-11 in the first set against Albion (0-7, o-3), they rallied to tie it at 16-16, before ripping off four points in a row to go ahead 20-16. Despite the Brits getting the next two points, Saint Mary’s would go on another four-point run that would give them a comfortable 25-19 opening victory.

The second set featured more of the same, with the Brits notching a five-point burst at one point to take an 18-13 lead. However, the Belles responded with a torrid stretch in which they scored eight points in a row. From there, the Brits were unable to tie it back up, as the Belles held off several late runs to take the second set by a count of 25-22.

After playing relatively even with the Brits, 5-4, to open up the third and final set, the Belles opened up offensively and scored 11 of the next 14 points to take a commanding lead of 16-7. Albion never got closer than that, as the Belles cruised to a 25-14 victory in the set and subsequently the match.

Several players stood out for the Belles. Sophomore Lexi Grady had a team-high 16 assists, while sophomore Meaghan Gibbons led all players with 15 digs. Seven players on the Belle side tallied at least three kills, with junior Katie Hecklinski leading the team with seven. Senior Melanie Kuczek added six blocks, on a day where nine Belles had at least one block.

Saint Mary’s next match will be against conference rival Trine, who is coming off of a 3-2 victory over Kalamazoo on Saturday.  The Thunder are led by junior Taylor Rabel, who put up a double-double against the Hornets, recording 18 kills and 11 digs. Freshman Mikayla Carpenter recorded a career-high 31 digs and the Thunder improved their record to 5-1 and 1-1 in the MIAA.

The Belles play the Thunder at home, with a scheduled game time of 7 p.m.

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