Flying Dutch soar to 3-0 win
By KATIE McVOY
The Belles volleyball team followed the trend of the rest of Saint Mary's fall sports: They had an exceptional season, played a tough final game in the playoffs, and could not quite get the championship.
Saint Mary's ended its season with a 3-0 loss to Hope College during the semifinal round of the MIAA Tournament this weekend.
The Flying Dutch were ranked second going into the semifinals and the Belles knew they were in for intense competition.
After defeating Kalamazoo to advance to the semifinals, Saint Mary's head coach Randa Shields began thinking about Hope.
"Going into Friday [against Hope], we have to focus on them being any other team, not Hope," Shields said. "We have to play our game against them."
Despite losing the first game 15-13, the second game 15-10 and the third game 15-7, senior captain and 1998 all-MIAA member Agnes Bill felt the Belles met their goal.
"For being the end of the season, I think we played the best we played all season," Bill said. "Going into it, we knew it was going to be a real competitive match, but we definitely played at their level and I think the scores show that."
Hope is a powerhouse in all of its athletics, but especially in volleyball. The Flying Dutch were the MIAA volleyball champions in 1996, 1997 and last season, 1998.
When asked what makes Hope such a dominating presence on the volleyball court, Bill said she thought it was their offensive play.
"They have a very strong offense," Bill said. "They're smart and quick, which made our defense have to react faster. It was our defense that kept us in the game, however."
Coach Randa Shields came in to her fist year as head coach hoping to make a good showing this year in the MIAA. Saint Mary's finished the season with a 5-3 record and a third place tie in the MIAA.
Bill thought that a big part of the new energy and excitement that seemed to follow the Belles' season was due to the new coaching.
"[Our successful season] was due to a new coaching staff," she said. "Randa and Lorelee [Smith, assitant coach] did a great job coaching, and brought a lot of new ideas to the team."
A positive attitude and a desire to win affected the team as well, according to Bill.
"We all wanted to be there," she said. "We all had the desire to play at the same level all season."
All Sports Stories for Tuesday, November 9, 1999