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SMC Tennis: Belles travel to Albion for first leg of MIAAs

Meaghan Veselik | Friday, April 25, 2008

After a bumpy start to its season, Saint Mary’s begins the first round of MIAA tournament play today as they take on Kalamazoo in Albion, Mich., at 8:30 a.m.

“Based on how well we’ve been doing lately as a team, I know we are ready to lay it all on the line this weekend,” sophomore co-captain Camille Gebert said. “If we want any hope of doing well, we are going to have to play confidently, as we have in the later part of our season.  I have high expectations for our team in this tournament, as I’m sure we all do.”

The MIAA tournament runs today and Saturday at Albion and nearby Spring Arbor University. Teams will compete in the opening rounds today and Saturday with the tournament final being played on Sunday.

Saint Mary’s singles and doubles have both shown improvement over the course of the season. Coming into the season with only two returning sophomores and eight freshmen, the Belles had a rough start. Losing three of its first four conference matches, Saint Mary’s turned the season around and stepped up its play.

Heading into the tournament, the Belles are presently fourth in the MIAA with a conference record of 5-3, and 10-9 overall. Saint Mary’s has also been showing a lot more consistency in recent matches, winning the last five matches. This past weekend the Belles defeated conference rivals Kalamazoo and Alma 6-3 and 8-1, respectively.

Saint Mary’s hopes its recent momentum will carry over into the tournament this weekend, in both their doubles and singles. Leading the Belles this season for doubles has been the No. 1 duo of Gebert and freshman Jillian Hurley, who ended the regular season at 10-9, 6-2 MIAA.

At the front for Saint Mary’s singles this season is Gebert, currently is at 11-8, 5-3 MIAA. Following Gebert is Hurley, whose strong debut season has helped the Belles in scoring many of their wins this spring. Hurley went undefeated in MIAA play, going 8-0, and 17-2 overall. At No. 3 singles for most of the season has been Reed, whose gone 10-8, 5-3 MIAA.

Up first for Saint Mary’s is a team they beat 6-3 this past weekend, Kalamazoo. If they defeat the Hornets, the Belles will take on the winner of Albion and Tri-State, and if they lose they take on the winner of that match.

“We play Kalamazoo first round, who we just beat on Saturday,” Gebert said. “I know we can get past them, in which we’ll be playing the one or two seed, Albion or Calvin, neither of whom are out of our reach.”

Saint Mary’s has high hopes for the conference tournament, especially after their recent successes, consistency, and momentum.

“As long as we play like we know how to play, we will succeed,” Gebert said. “It should be a fun weekend, lots of tennis, and lots of talent. We’ll see what kind of potential we have, I’m very optimistic.”