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Five-game win streak snapped at Valparaiso

Joe Meixell | Monday, April 5, 2004

All good things must come to an end. Saint Mary’s had its five-game win streak snapped this weekend when it suffered its worst defeat of the season, a 9-0 loss to Valparaiso. The Belles then traveled to Chicago, where they got back on track with a 7-2 win over the University of Chicago.Friday’s home match proved to be a difficult day for everyone who played. The team faced numerous setbacks in its quest for victory. No. 4 singles player Kris Spriggle was unable to participate in the match due to a scheduling conflict with her exams. The team also had to deal with the loss of Kaitlin Cutler, who entered the contest with the flu and was forced to forfeit her match only four games in when she became too ill to continue. The automatic loss gave Cutler only her second loss on the year, which currently gives her the top record (13-2) among Saint Mary’s singles players.The rest of the squad was unable to continue its strong play against Valparaiso. “The Valparaiso team was a lot stronger than the year before,” Miranda Mikulyuk said, who lost 0-6, 1-6 in straight sets. “And we gave it our all but it just wasn’t enough. We were all proud with how we played.”Sophomore Kristen Palombo, who had won her last four matches heading into the Valparaiso contest, lost 2-6, 2-6. “We were all just a little off our games against Valpo,” she said. “We all just sort of had an off day.”No. 1 singles player Jeannie Knish also was defeated 2-6, 2-6 in straight sets. “They were a tough team,” Knish said.”We had trouble pulling ourselves together. Plus, it was freezing outside. It was really cold, and it was just hard to get warmed up.” In her first singles match of the year, freshman Grace Gordon lost 1-6, 1-6, and Kate Bowler was also unsuccessful, losing 4-6, 2-6. Palombo hoped she and her team had learned something from this match. “It was a good learning experience,” Palombo said. “Since we had won so many matches in a row, this loss to Valparaiso served as a wake-up call. After the match, we made some adjustments, and I think that that really showed on Saturday.” The team was able to rebound strongly with its match against the University of Chicago on Saturday. Their 7-2 victory moved them to a record of 11-4 on the year (3-0 in MIAA conference play). “We had to fight the weather as much as we had to fight the team,” Mikulyuk said. “The wind was just horrible.” However, the team seemed to play up to their ability again, and the return of Spriggle and a healthy Cutler provided an added boost. All but one of the singles players won, and the doubles teams also enjoyed improved success.”It was a 180-degree difference from the previous game. We tried our best to use the cold and wind to our advantage,” Palombo said. “We’re looking to start a new streak from this one.”