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SMC Tennis: Belles to face Hope after week-long break

Joe Meixell | Wednesday, April 9, 2008

After a week off from competition, Saint Mary’s is looking for its second conference win when it takes on Hope in Holland, Mich., Wednesday.

The Belles (5-8, 1-2 MIAA) are currently in sixth – just behind the sixth-place Flying Dutch (8-5, 1-1 MIAA) – in the MIAA.

“Hope is a very good team,” Saint Mary’s head coach Chuck Rubino said. “They lost to Albion 5-4, and we lost 6-3 so that tells you where they are in relation to us. I feel like if we can win two of the doubles we have a great chance to beat them in 3-4 singles matches.”

Before its break from competing, Saint Mary’s swept Olivet 9-0 for its first conference win of the season on April 1. The Belles won both the singles and doubles divisions, which they had previously done only in non-conference competition. Sophomore co-captain No. 1 singles Camille Gebert led Saint Mary’s in the singles wins, defeating Olivet’s Jaclyn Mummaw 6-1, 6-2.

Freshman No. 2 singles Jillian Hurley won her 11th match of the season, beating Abbie Utberg 6-3, 6-1, putting her personal record at 11-2. No. 3 freshman Betsy Reed defeated Celeste Gruber 6-0, 6-0; No. 4 freshman Jessica Kosinski beat Katie Griffs 6-3, 6-2; No. 5 sophomore co-captain Lisa Rubino defeated Leanne Schudder 6-1, 6-1; and No.6 freshman Laura Arnold finished off singles for Saint Mary’s with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Kristen Wolfolk.

The Belles continued to dominate Olivet in doubles as they swept the division 3-0. The No. 1 pair of Gebert and Hurley won 8-1 over Mummaw and Utberg for their sixth win as a team, putting them at 6-7 this season. The No.2 duo of Rubino and Reed continued Saint Mary’s streak with an 8-1 win over Gruber and Schudder. The No. 3 team of Kosinski and freshman Franca Peluso completed the sweep with an 8-1 win over Griffes and Wolfolk.

“It is a pivotal match for us this season, we’re on par with them, and I think we can beat them,” Rubino said. “It will be a close match either way with possibly some tie breakers and third matches that we’re going to have to win.”

Saint Mary’s will try to carry its domination in both divisions today, but may have some competition from junior Sammi Stille, senior Christine Garcia, and sophomore Danielle Werley, Hope’s No. 1, 2, and 3 in singles, respectively. Stille went 2-1 this past weekend at the GLCA tournament at Oberlin, Ohio, putting her at 8-6 for the season. Garcia is only at 3-10 for the 2008 season, but holds an 18-23 record for her career at Hope so far. Werley also went 2-1 over the weekend, putting her at 6-7 for this year.

“A lot of the matches will probably be close, we have to work to get over the hump and win those matches,” Lisa Rubino said. “I think we are ready to compete again, after having some time off.  It was nice to get a break, but we are excited for the challenges ahead.”

Coach Rubino outlined the Belles goals for today’s match, recognizing what his team needs to improve to win.

“Our goal is to improve our consistency, and staying in the match mentally. It’s going to be a close match and we’re going to have to win enough matches to beat them,” he said. “Hopefully we have enough mental consistency to beat them at this point.”