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SMC Tennis: Belles prepare for MIAA Championships

Ken Fowler and Greg Arbogast | Friday, April 28, 2006

After losing 8-1 to both Calvin and Indiana Wesleyan Saturday, Saint Mary’s knows it needs to turn its ship around – quickly.

The Belles enter this weekend’s MIAA Championships at Hope College with a 10-10 overall record and 5-3 mark in league play, tied for fourth in the league with Hope. Hope beat Saint Mary’s 6-3 March 29 to win the tie-breaker for the No. 4 seed in the tournament.

“We’ve learned a lot from the matches we’ve lost,” Belles junior Kelly McDavitt said. “We’re going to try to go in with an open mind, stay positive and try to get a big win to make up for the losses we’ve had over the season.”

Saint Mary’s last win came April 12 against Kalamazoo, a thrilling 5-4 victory in which the Belles captured the final four singles matches off the court to top the conference foe.

McDavitt sparked the rally with her 6-4, 6-0 victory over Kalamazoo’s Laura Spencer for Saint Mary’s first singles victory of the match.

But since then – before the two losses last weekend – Saint Mary’s has lost to conference foe Albion and non-conference opponent Bethel.

“We all feel that we have the potential to beat the people that we’ve lost against,” McDavitt said. “It’s exciting to have a chance to beat them now, especially those who lost close matches – it’s a chance to show all the conference teams how talented we are and that we can be No. 1.”

Kalamazoo enters the tournament as the No. 2 seed with a 6-2 MIAA record and a 14-6 mark overall. They earned the tiebreaker with a 5-4 victory over Calvin (12-8, 6-2) earlier this year.

Alma (13-9, 8-0) is the top seed and Tri-State (9-7, 3-5) is sixth. Olivet (8-10, 2-6) enters No. 7, Alma (3-12, 1-7) is No. 8, and winless Adrian (0-12, 0-7) is at the bottom of the MIAA.

Friday’s matches will be held on Holland City’s Moran Courts and Holland High School Courts. Saturday’s matches will begin at 9 a.m. exclusively at Holland High School.

The MIAA crowns champions at each position in the lineup, awarding titles to six singles players and three doubles teams.

“I think we all have a good chance of winning our matches,” McDavitt said. “We’ve had to overcome a lot of injuries and mental struggles, but we’re all going in tomorrow with an open mind, take each match one step at a time.”