Squad’s win streak snapped by undefeated Hope
Josh Dulany | Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Saint Mary’s could not extend its winning streak to six matches as the Belles fell to top-ranked Hope in straight sets Tuesday night.
The Belles (7-7, 4-4 MIAA) were attempting to win their fourth straight road match, but failed to go into Holland, Michigan and spoil the perfect record of Hope (16-0, 8-0).
Belles coach Toni Elyea said she knew the match would be challenging, but was still frustrated with the way her offense performed. The Belles got off to slow starts in each set and failed to get closer than nine points in any of the sets, as they lost 25-16, 25-14, 25-15.
“We just couldn’t get our offense going,” Elyea said. “We’d finally do something well and then we’d miss a serve. Hope is obviously a great team and we just didn’t do what we needed to in order to go in and get a win.”
Despite the loss, Elyea said that there were some positives the team could take out of the match, such as standout performances from junior Katie Hecklinski and freshman Rachel Bonek. Hecklinski tallied 10 digs and six kills and Bonek assisted on four blocks.
“We did some good things individually and as a team,” Elyea said. “Hecklinski was strong for us all over the place. I thought she did a great job defensively and also came through for us when she had opportunities to hit. We also blocked very well. Bonek has been great blocking for us all year and she was good for us again.”
The Flying Dutch were led by the play of senior Jenna Grasmeyer, who recorded 10 kills and five digs. Her hitting was set up primarily by junior Lauren Hazekamp, who tallied 27 assists on the night.
Elyea gave full credit to the efforts of the top-ranked Hope squad and said that neither the mid-week travel nor four straight road games had any effect on the result of the match.
“I don’t think the travel was a factor,” Elyea said. “We came in, we’d won four straight and we have a lot of confidence and we just didn’t get it done. Obviously, we were playing a great team, but we have confidence in our offense and we know we are capable of more than the level we were at tonight.”
Elyea said she was confident that Saint Mary’s could return to winning form quickly and continue to chase its goal of a top-four finish in the MIAA and a berth in the conference championship tournament.
“We just keep doing what we were doing,” Elyea said. “We still have a lot of goals in front of us and we’ve just got to keep getting better and more consistent.”
The Belles will look to bounce back this weekend when Alma visits on Friday before they travel to Olivet, Michigan to face Olivet on Saturday. Saint Mary’s and Alma start at 6:00p.m. Friday, and the Belles play Olivet at noon Saturday.