SMC VOLLEYBALL: Belles return to play, split weekend games
Out of action since Sept. 8. because of cancellations stemming from the terrorist attack, the Saint Mary's volleyball team returned to the court for a double-header on Saturday.
The Belles brought home a victory and a loss, defeating Olivet in game one, before falling to St. Francis in game two.
Following Tuesday's tragedy, the Belles did not play for seven days, doing nothing but practicing.
"It almost felt like the preseason again," head coach Julie Schroeder-Biek said about the seven-day layoff. "All we did was practice, practice, practice. With all that happened in New York, it was a psychologically difficult week. We were shocked."
With nothing but practice for seven days, the Belles had to refocus their energy on the task at hand.
"It's tough to get restarted, especially after what happened on Tuesday," senior captain Angela Meyers said. "We just have to keep going and I think we'll still be prepared."
Saint Mary's defeated Olivet in three, 30-17, 30-23, 30-23. The win marked the second Saint Mary's victory this season and raised the Belles record to 2-6 overall and 1-1 in the conference.
In game two, the Belles did not fair as well. St. Francis defeated Saint Mary's in three, 30-23, 30-23, 30-19.
Even after Saturday's double-header, the Belles are still recovering from the time off. Tonight they face off against the Knights of Calvin in a match that promises to be a challenge. But the challenge comes at the right time.
Despite the tragic circumstances leading to the postponement, the layoff did help a few members of the team get healthy. Most notably, senior middle blocker Jolie LeBeau returns for Monday's game, having recovered from a bad ankle sprain suffered against Albion on Sept. 5. Senior Elizabeth Albert also got a chance to nurse a strained quadriceps.
"Through the week we kept both of them down in practice," Schroeder-Biek said. "Jolie did really well on Saturday and wasn't favoring her ankle at all."
Without her, the team stood to lose significant experience at the position. The only other middle blockers on the roster are freshmen.
"We were working on two freshmen, but it would've really slipped our lineup around," Schroeder-Biek said. "The players get used to playing by one another. Having Jolie back definitely helps."
Even with LeBeau's return, Monday night will still present the Belles with a tough challenge. Last year, Calvin finished second in the MIAA, only one game behind conference champion Hope. Nevertheless, Saint Mary's hopes to avenge last year's first round loss in the conference tournament.
"I'm really looking forward to playing Calvin," Schroeder-Biek said. "They are a very strong team, but a win would really be a boost our confidence."
The match starts tonight at 7 p.m. at Calvin.
All Sports Stories for Monday, September 17, 2001