SMC vs. Bethel

Belles Battle Past Bethel in Nail-biter

MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- The Saint Mary's College volleyball team was not going to let history repeat itself as it had for the past 14 years against cross-town rival Bethel College as they took the hard-fought 3-2 win (25-22, 15-25, 12-25, 25-15, 18-16). 

The last time the Belles were the victors of the match-up was October 12, 1993 when Saint Mary's defeated Bethel in five sets in a Triangular Tournament hosted by the Belles by scores of 15-13, 16-14, 1-15, 9-15, 16-14.

The Belles came out with something to prove in the first set.  Spurred by the offensive efforts of Kaela Hellmann and Danie Brink, the Belles took an early lead and never looked back to quiet the crowded Wiekamp Athletic Center.

The tides quickly turned against Saint Mary's as the Pilots claimed sets two and three in commanding fashion.  The Belles never lost faith and came out in the fourth set much as they had in the opening frame to take a decisive 25-15 victory to force the tie-breaking fifth set.

In the final set, it was the Pilots who gained early momentum to take an 8-4 lead as the teams switched sides.  In the closely-fought fifth set, the two teams traded points, but the Pilots managed to build a 14-12 lead to have the opportunity to win the match.  The Belles had other things in mind as they fought off four separate set-point situations.  The turning point in the game came when Kathleen Mills came out on top of a joust situation to pick up a critical kill for the Belles.  Saint Mary's would feed off of the point and take the 18-16 decision in the fifth set to lift themselves to the win.

In what was an all-around team effort, the offense of Kaela Hellmann, Cathy Kurczak, and Lorna Slupczynski once again paved the way for the Belles' win.  Ellen Huelsmann, Meg Rose, and Slupczynski had strong defensive efforts in a game that was dictated largely by the teams' backcourts.

With the win, the Belles improve their record to 4-2 on the season.  The next match for the Saint Mary's volleyball team will be Tuesday, September 9 when the Belles travel to Holland, Mich. to take on the Hope College Flying Dutch.  The game is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m.