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SMC Tennis: Belles to face Olivet in first MIAA match

Joe Meixell | Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Saint Mary’s will face Olivet today at home in their first MIAA match of the season at 3 p.m., when the Belles will try to gain an early lead in the league standings.

Last week, the Belles traveled down to Orlando, Fla., for their spring trip to open the season. On the trip, they went .500, going 4-4 in all matches, while facing quality competition.

Saint Mary’s earned victories over Haverford, Hamilton, Bentley and Drew, while it fell to Franklin and Marshall, Wisconsin-LaCrosse, University of Puerto Rico and Skidmore.

Saint Mary’s will look to build on last season’s 10-10 overall record, with an MIAA tally of 5-3 that earned them a fourth-place finish in the league’s regular season. The Belles then took a fifth place finish in the MIAA tournament.

“We will rely on the returning players a great deal,” Belles coach Dee Stevenson said. “However, I would like to see some of the first year players raise the level of competition on the team.”

The Olivet Comets have strong senior leadership with doubles partners and singles standouts, Mallory Bailey and Rachel Vilums.

The Comets also have an up and coming freshman in Celeste Gruber that has been able to contribute early on.

Olivet is currently 1-1 in MIAA play and 4-2 overall.

In singles play last week, Belles freshman Camille Gebert led Saint Mary’s with five singles victories. Sophomore Mary E. Campbell, freshman Lisa Rubino and junior Cassie Quaglia all had four wins during the week. Seniors Kelly McDavitt and Tara O’Brien each had three victories. Playing as a substitute in a game, senior Grace Gordon was able to provide the Belles with a win also.

In doubles play, the duo of McDavitt and Gebert displayed excellent chemistry, racking up five wins against the competition. The other teams of Campbell and Rubino as well as O’Brien and Gordon claimed three victories in the Sunshine State.

Stevenson said McDavitt’s work ethic and leadership embodies the team.

“Kelly is one of the hardest working players that I have coached. She will set the tone each match for the rest of the team,” Stevenson said. “She will also be looked upon to provide leadership both on and off the court.”