Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Sunday, March 3, 2024
The Observer

SMC Volleyball: Belles off to ringing start, take three of four matches

Saint Mary's (3-1, 0-0 MIAA) kicked off its season with a strong showing this weekend, going 3-1 at the Thomas More Invitational in Crestview Hills, Ky., hosted by Thomas More College. Belles senior Cathy Kurczak and junior Lorna Slupczynski were named to the All-Tournament team. Head coach Julie Schroeder-Biek hopes the early success will translate to conference play.

"This was a very important [tournament]," Schroeder-Biek said. "Last year, we struggled at the beginning of the season, especially."

In its Saturday opener, Saint Mary's defeated Spalding University in four sets (25-23, 23-25, 26-24, 25-20), and dropped Earlham College in straight sets that evening (25-17, 25-14, 25-13). Kurczak (16 kills), senior Kaela Hellmann (24), and Slupczynski (21) led the Belles' offensive attack. Freshman Danie Brink had 38 assists for Saint Mary's while junior Liana Rohr chipped in 28 assists of her own. On the defensive end, sophomore Meghann Rose led the Belles with 29 digs, and fellow sophomore Ellen Huelsmann had a double-digit dig effort with 15.

After taking consecutive matches on the first day of the tournament, Saint Mary's split its games on Sunday. The Belles suffered their first loss with a tough, five set contest against PSU-Behrend (25-22, 21-25, 25-21, 16-25, 13-15), but bounced back to dispose of Kenyon in straight sets (25-11, 25-20, 25-2). Hellmann, Slupczynski, and Kurczak had another strong day offensively. Hellmann wrapped up the weekend with 44 kills, 24 digs and eight service aces. Slupczynski added 40 kills, 26 digs and four aces of her own, with Kurczak contributing 29 kills. Sophomores Rose and Huelsmann finished the weekend with 62 and 37 digs, respectively.

Saint Mary's opens its MIAA conference schedule on Tuesday, hosting Adrian College at 7 p.m. at the Angela Athletic Facility.

"We only get one practice before our conference match on Tuesday," Schroeder-Biek said. "So, we are going to use it to really work on our connections with the attackers as well as tighten up our blocking game."