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SMC Tennis: Belles look to end dry spell at Olivet

Meaghan Veselik | Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Saint Mary’s (4-8 overall, 0-2 MIAA) continues conference play on the road Tuesday at 4 p.m. when it takes on Olivet (6-1 overall, 0-2 MIAA) at Michigan State.

Tuesday’s match will be the third conference competition this season for both teams.

“I feel pretty good about playing Olivet,” Belles coach Chuck Rubino said. “They are not picked as one of the top teams in the conference, like who we’ve been playing.”

The Belles have played Albion and Calvin in their first two conference matches this season. Albion (10-1, 3-0 MIAA) is currently leading in the MIAA, and Calvin (8-2, 1-0 MIAA) is third. Saint Mary’s fell 6-3 to both Albion and Calvin in the past two weeks.

“Unfortunately, the conference teams we have played so far have been two of the three toughest teams in the MIAA, so they have brought some pretty good competition,” sophomore co-captain Camille Gebert said. “Tomorrow’s match should be slightly easier than the teams we’ve been playing so far. Hopefully it will be a good match to bring us out of our slump.”

The Belles are coming off a 0-2 weekend at the Jack Swartz Invitational at Wheaton College, Ill., where they lost to Olivet Nazarene and Wheaton College, both ranked teams. The Belles lost 6-3 to NAIA No. 16 Olivet Nazarene on Friday, and 8-1 to Wheaton, which is ranked No. 28 in Div. III, on Saturday.

“We had a lot of tough matches this weekend and I think we’re going to put that experience into this match,” Rubino said.

Rubino said one main problem in the weekend losses was his team’s doubles play.

“I want to see improvement in our doubles,” Rubino said. “Singles did well this past weekend, we want to continue to improve in singles, but I hope to sweep the doubles and if we can – the singles, too.”

Saint Mary’s heads into competition today having played better teams than Olivet. However, both teams have yet to win any conference matches, and will be going into play hungry for a win.

“I just don’t want to go in there overconfident,” Rubino said. “It’s not like playing Albion or Calvin. Olivet isn’t at that level, and we want to continue the play that we had this weekend.”

Olivet team is similar to Saint Mary’s in that both teams are comprised mostly of freshmen and sophomores. To Rubino, this means his Belles have a lot of untapped potential.

“We are starting to get to that level of playing up to their potential,” Rubino said. “We still have a way to go until we peak.”

Rubino said his team is hungry for a long-awaited win.

“Unfortunately, we had to play two of the better teams right away, but we’ll certainly get our chances in the conference meet in a couple of weeks,” Rubino said.