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SMC Tennis: Belles stay perfect in MIAA

Ellyn Michalak | Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Monday’s match against Calvin College was a nail biter for Saint Mary’s.

Calvin looked poised to end the Belles winning streak, but Saint Mary’s battled back after several close sets to defeat the Knights 5-4. Saint Mary’s remained undefeated in MIAA conference play with the win.

“It was pretty even competition,” Saint Mary’s coach Dee Stevenson said. “The game went down to the first set of the last match.”

The day started well for the Belles with wins at the No. 1 and No. 2 singles spots. Starting the match in the No. 1 spot, senior captain Kelly McDavitt defeated Calvin freshman Elisabeth Geenen 6-4, 7-6 (6-4).

Following in the No. 2 spot, freshman Camille Gebert defeated Calvin senior Kari Lipinski in three sets, 6-1, 6-7 (6-8), 6-1.

The Belles did not fair as well in the third and fourth matches of the day. Saint Mary’s sophomore Mary E. Campbell fell to senior Allyson Logan of Calvin College. After winning the first set 6-4, she dropped the second and third 6-3 and 6-1, respectively. Belle’s freshman Lisa Rubino could not avenge Campbell’s loss. Calvin freshman Rachel Strikwerda defeated Rubino 6-3, 6-3.

Senior Tara O’Brien rallied for the Belles to clinch the victory by defeating Knights’ freshman Kelsey Bushhouse 7-6 (6-2), 6-0.

Stevenson said that he was pleasantly surprised with the way Grace Gordon performed against Calvin. Gordon – a senior from Wilmette, Ill. – is not typically on the starting lineup but moved up to the No. 6 singles position. Gordon defeated Calvin freshman Rachel DeGroot in straight sets, surrendering only three games in the process.

Playing in their second conference match together, Gebert and McDavitt crushed Lipinski and Strikwerda 8-1 to earn their second doubles victory.

Playing in the No. 2 doubles spot, Campbell and Rubino suffered an 8-5 loss to Calvin’s Logan and freshman Jill VanVeen. In the final match of the day Gordon and O’Brien lost 8-4 to Geenan and DeGroot.

Saint Mary’s improved to 2-0 in the MIA,A while Calvin fell to 2-1.

The Belles will continue play this weekend at the Wheaton Invitational. Stevenson said the team hopes to maintain its undefeated conference record next Tuesday when they take on Adrian on the road.