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Belles square off in MIAA tournament

Molly Sammon | Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It has all come down to this for Saint Mary’s, as the Belles will spend the upcoming weekend challenging their conference for the top spot in the MIAA.

The Belles (9-9, 4-4 MIAA) evened their conference record to .500 after their final seasonal matchup against Olivet.

“We have had a decent year, but want to strive for better results,” Belles coach Dale Campbell said. “We know we have the ability, but we have to work harder and smarter to be up with the top teams in our conference.”

Junior captain Camille Gebert has probably been the most impressive Belle this season, going undefeated in her spot at No. 2 singles.

One area of the game that coach Campbell wants to work on is the girls’ doubles play before they are challenged by some of the top teams in the MIAA.

“We are changing our doubles strategy,” Campbell said. “We have changed the lineup and we are trying to play a more aggressive style of doubles going into the conference tourney. We will have to take chances to win.”

In their conference matches, the Belles have defeated Trine, Adrian, Olivet and Alma, but have fallen in their meetings against Kalamazoo, Albion, Hope and Calvin Colleges.

Both Kalamazoo and Albion promise the most difficulty to beat come this weekend’s matches. Gebert was the only Belle able to pull out a win during the Saint Mary’s seasonal play against these two MIAA tennis powerhouses.

One aspect that makes this year’s competition at the conference original is the fact that it is Campbell’s first trip to the MIAA tournament as Saint Mary’s coach. Despite it being the team’s first trip under Campbell’s guidance, he will enter the match knowing the competition.

“We know what to expect and I know as a new coach in this conference what to expect, given it is the first time that I have seen our opponents,” Campbell said.