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Belles looking strong since spring break

Joe Meixell | Friday, April 2, 2004

These days, the Belles look unbeatable.Having won five straight since returning from spring break, Saint Mary’s looks to extend its winning streak this weekend facing in-state rival Valparaiso at home today. The team has looked very impressive as of late. “We’re on a really good roll since spring break, and I think all of our match preparation during break training is starting to pay off,” said Kristen Palombo, who has won her last four singles matches. “We’re seeing the results, and we’re looking forward to this weekend with games here against Valparaiso and Saturday at the University of Chicago.”The biggest win this season for the Belles came last week in a 5-4 victory over rival Hope that has large implications for conference standings. They have also made short work of their other opponents, including shutouts against Tri-State University and Alma College. Now they turn their focus to Valparaiso.”We’re looking forward to it. Even though it’s really cold, and we’ll be freezing our fannies off, we’ll keep practicing to get better,” freshman Grace Gordon said. “We’re not as worried about this team as we were against a team like Hope, but we’ll still come prepared to play.”The Belles are looking forward to the match to sharpen their skills and face some new competition, but at the same time, they are happy to have a break from the demands of conference play. “Hopefully we’ll continue the streak. These are nice matches because they don’t count for conference,” Palombo said. “There is a lot less stress, a lot less pressure, in these matches. But whenever you play, it’s still always good to win.”And the Belles are excited about playing without the pressure.”There is definitely a lot less pressure,” Gordon said. “I mean, we have fun all the time, of course, but we definitely find it easier to enjoy ourselves during these matches. We’re a lot less nervous, and we don’t get worried about getting down in the match.”Matches like the ones we have this weekend help us to improve. We can work on strategies, and maybe experiment, or do something different on the court to improve our game on the whole.”