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After strong start, Belles split at Schwarz Memorial

Joe Meixell | Monday, April 3, 2006

While Saint Mary’s appeared unbeatable Friday, defeating Olivet Nazarene 8-1, the team looked anything but as it lost 9-0 to No. 13 Wheaton Saturday in the Jack Schwarz Memorial Classic Tournament in Wheaton, Ill.

The Belles started the weekend by defeating a talented Olivet Nazarene team with ease. The squad swept the doubles matches with the teams of Caile Mulcahy and Kelly McDavitt, Grace Gordon and Kristen Palombo and Melissa Dingler and Mary Elizabeth Campbell, all picking up wins by the score of 8-6.

In singles action, Saint Mary’s proceeded to win five of the six match-ups. Only No. 2. Mulcahy failed to defeat her opponent as she lost to Olivet’s Jennifer Ramsey by a score of 1-6, 6-1, 6-1. No. 1 Palombo needed three sets to beat Olivet’s Lily Gonzalez, but McDavitt, Campbell, Dingler and Gordon only required two sets to dispatch their opponents.

But similar success was not found against Wheaton Saturday. The Belles failed to win a match, although McDavitt put up quite a fight as Wheaton’s Karly Olsen needed extra games in the third set to pick up the win by a score of 6-4, 6-7 (4-7), 11-9.

The rest of the matches were not as competitive. Every other singles match went only two sets, with no Saint Mary’s player managing to win more than two games in any set.

In doubles, the No. 1 team of Mulcahy and McDavitt lost 8-1, the No. 2 team of Palombo and Gordon was defeated 8-3 and the No. 3 team of Campbell and Dingler lost 8-2.

There were several reasons for the sizable gap between the outcomes of the matches, senior Palombo said.

“Part of it was that we didn’t play as well against Wheaton, but part of it was that Wheaton was just a much better team,” Palombo said. “We could have won more games against Wheaton, but they’re a very solid team all around.”

The weekend gives the Belles an overall record of 7-6 and 2-1 in the MIAA. Saint Mary’s will now turn its focus on this week’s conference matches. Despite the results against Wheaton, Palombo said the team will go into this week’s matches with a worthwhile experience from this weekend’s tournament.

“We feel positive because Friday’s match was so good,” Palombo said. “We played well Saturday, but sometimes you just come across opponents who are better than you. We were happy with our results and efforts.”

Saint Mary’s will play its next match Monday against Alma, a team that comes into the meeting with a record of 2-5 overall and 1-2 in MIAA. The Belles will look to pick up their third conference win after suffering their first conference loss last week to Hope by a score of 6-3.