2013 Volleyball Outlook

The Saint Mary’s volleyball team continued to raise the bar in 2013, and the Belles look to accomplish even more during the 2014 campaign.

Last season, the Belles clinched a spot in the MIAA Tournament with their first top-four finish in conference standings since 2008. Expectations for a return trip to the tournament remain high as the team did not lose any players to graduation.

Clare McMillan ’17, Katie Hecklinski ’16, and Kati Schneider ’15 will help lead a highly experienced squad in 2014. McMillan stormed onto the scene by becoming the first freshman setter to amass at least 900 assists in her first season since the 2003 season. Hecklinski improved upon and already strong start to her career by earning MIAA Position Player of the Week and Second Team All-MIAA honors after a head-turning sophomore campaign. Schneider continued to etch her name in the history books by becoming the second Belle to ever be named First Team All-MIAA on multiple occasions.

Joining that trio is a large core of returning players, including seniors Meredith Mersits, Taylor Etzell, Samantha Grady, Melanie Kuczek, and Brooke Fowler. Mersits, Etzell, Grady, and Kuczek all saw time in at least 100 sets a season ago while the collective core of the team’s Class of 2015 has been a foundation for much of the team’s success over the past three seasons.

In early August, the volleyball team was picked by conference coaches to finish third in the league with the announcement of the annual MIAA preseason poll. "We are so excited for this upcoming season," said head coach Toni Elyea. "This team has made huge strides in the last four years because of their hard work and determination. We have an opportunity to once again make the improvements necessary to take our team to new heights.”

The Belles’ bid to be a top contender in the MIAA sets off with a highly-competitive tournament at Mount Union to start the season on August 29 and 30 before conference play begins on Tuesday, September 2 at Alma.