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Belles open regular season with a win

Justin Stetz | Wednesday, March 17, 2004

The Belles captured their third consecutive MIAA Tournament Championship last season. Led by a fifth-year head coach with a career record of 64-19 in Dee Stevenson, the tennis team hopes to build upon its past winning ways heading into this season.The team began the year with a 6-3 win in the season opener over Wisconsin-Green Bay on Feb. 21.”I feel we have as good of a chance of winning the conference as ever before,” senior Kris Spriggle said. “We lost our No. 5 and No. 6 singles players from last year, but our current players are just as strong, if not stronger. We are confident going into this season, but will not take anything for granted, as each team in the conference has gotten stronger over the past year.”The Belles return numerous key players. Jeannie Knish has the No.1 spot and is no stranger to the MIAA singles championships. Kaitlin Cutler compiled a 17-1 record last year and will be seeking an MIAA title as well as Spriggle (15-2) and Kristen Palombo (14-4).In the singles matches against Wisconsin-Green Bay, the team was led by seniors Cutler 6-4, 5-7, 7-5 at No. 3 and Spriggle 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) at No. 4. Junior Miranda Mikulyuk won her match 6-0, 6-1, while sophomore Kate Bowler 6-2, 6-3 was also triumphant at No. 5.In doubles Cutler and Spriggle won as well, 7-6 (5), 6-2. Palombo and freshman Grace Gordon defeated Amanda Dworak and Amy Meissner of UW-Green Bay 6-4, 7-5 in No. 3 doubles.The Belles then traveled to Orlando, Fla. and went 4-3 versus numerous opponents. Beginning on March 7, the Belles were victorious with dominating wins over Kings College (9-0), Haverford (8-1) and John Carroll (7-2) on March 8. The following day Saint Mary’s dropped their first match of the trip when they were defeated by Wesleyan University (6-3), but the team bounced back to beat Sacred Heart (6-3) on March 10.Saint Mary’s concluded its trip with losses to Youngstown State (8-1) and Wheaton College (6-3). Overall, the Belles did very well against the competition and currently hold a 5-3 record.