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SMC TENNIS: Belles to battle against Albion in MIAA game

Joe Meixell | Friday, April 15, 2005

The Belles, seeking to recover from two crippling losses, play the Albion Britons at 1 p.m. Sunday in a critical conference match.

“This match is really important because our conference record isn’t that good. We hope to make amends,” co-captain Kristen Palombo said.

Belles’ coach Dee Stevenson elaborated on her captain’s feeling.

“We’re trying to recover from Wednesday’s loss (to Kalamazoo),” Stevenson said.

Albion is 3-0 in conference play and 12-3 overall. The Britons finished fifth in the Wisconsin tournament that snubbed the Belles.

“They’re good. They’re favored to win the conference this year,” Stevenson said. “They return most of last year’s players.”

Palombo also acknowledged the strength of Albion, especially in reference to the Britons’ deep lineup.

“Most teams have only one or two premier players, but [Albion’s players] are all good,” Palombo said. “Preparation against them is tough.”

Stevenson explained the recent wrenching losses.

“We’re playing good teams. The matches could have gone either way,” Stevenson said. “The injuries, academic obligations, and graduation have leeched our depth. There’s nothing you can do.”

Palombo echoed her coach’s sentiments regarding the tough losses this season.

“The losses are disappointing, but we somewhat expected it. We’re a brand-new team that needs match experience,” she said. “We can’t dwell on these losses. We have to suck it up and ask ‘What did we do wrong?’ Hopefully, we can figure it out by Sunday.”

The Belles will receive extra motivation Sunday from cherished fans and friends.

“We’re excited, too,” Palombo said. “Last year’s graduated players are returning to watch the match.”

Meanwhile, Stevenson is focused on the technicalities of the matches.

“We change our game plan for each opponent,” she said. “On Sunday, we have to play our best, and our players realize that