Belles Claim Tournament Title at North Park

CHICAGO, Ill. - Strong all-around efforts throughout the team propelled the Saint Mary's volleyball team to two more wins on Saturday as the Belles claimed the 2012 North Park Classic championship with a perfect 4-0 mark on the weekend.

The Belles receive their tournament champion trophy at North Park. (Photo courtesy Kevin Shepke, North Park SID)
The Belles receive their tournament champion
trophy at North Park. (Photo courtesy Kevin
Shepke, North Park SID)
Against the host Vikings from North Park, the Belles posted a 3-1 (25-16, 25-27, 25-13, 25-17) win to start the morning on a high note. Kati Schneider posted a double-double with a 14 kill, 10 dig effort while adding five block assists and a pair of aces. Katie Hecklinski was right behind Schneider with 13 kills to go along with six digs. Melanie Kuczek tallied 11 kills, 12 digs, and seven blocks in the middle. Danie Brink paced the offense with 39 assists with 11 digs and four aces. Samantha Grady was solid defensively with a team-high 14 digs.

In the title-clinching 3-1 (25-19, 25-19, 19-25, 25-18) win against Kenyon, the Belles had another big effort by Schneider and Hecklinski. Schneider had 10 kills, six digs, and two aces while Hecklinski had 10 kills and eight digs of her own. Brink chipped in 33 assists along with eight digs and two aces. Taylor Etzell and Kuczek were strong in the middle yet again as Etzell had five kills and three blocks to go with Kuczek's six kills, seven digs, and three blocks.

Danie Brink and Kati Schneider were both named to the all-tournament team for their efforts.

The tournament title and matching 4-0 start are both the first for the Belles program under head coach Toni Kuschel and the first since the 2006 season.

The Belles (4-0) will look to continue their hot start to the season when they travel to in-state MIAA rival Trine for both teams' conference opening match on Tuesday, September 4 for a 7:00 p.m. contest against the Thunder.