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SMC Tennis: Squad tries to recover from 2 losses

Kate Grabarek | Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Saint Mary’s, fresh off back-to-back conference losses that have sent the Belles below the .500-mark, will try to bounce back today at Bethel.

The Belles (5-7, 1-2 MIAA) fell to Albion, 6-3, on Saturday and were blown out by Calvin, 8-1, last Wednesday. This comes after starting the conference slate with an 8-1 thrashing of Alma on March 28.

In their loss to Albion, the Belles got strong performances in singles from junior Camille Gebert and sophomores Jessica Kosinski and Betsy Reed, but consistency has eluded the young squad at times.

“It’s hard to say who will do well at each spot,” sophomore Jillian Hurley said. “I am hoping everyone can give their best. We have a much stronger team than last year, so it would be great for everyone to step it up and pull out a win.”

Gebert was able to pull out her victory at No. 2 singles with a double bagel over Cassie Simmelink.

“Her win was not that surprising,” Belles coach Dale Campbell said. “She has been improving steadily throughout the season. She won our only match against Calvin.”

Kosinski won her singles flight at No. 3 singles only dropping two games, while Reed followed up at No. 4 singles by winning a tight match in three sets.

“[Reed] was playing the way she knows she can play,” Campbell said. “She was able to fight back after losing the second set, and fought to pull out the third set that kept us in the match.”

Again doubles was a downfall for the Belles as they lost all three flights of doubles to open the match.

Bethel head coach John Natali said doubles would be key for his team in the match against Saint Mary’s.

“It is crucial for teams to win all three doubles points,” Natali said. “The team that wins even two of the three doubles matches has a slight advantage heading into singles play.”

The Belles were up in five of their six singles matches against Albion and were not able to pull out all of them, and that lost the match for them, Campbell said.

“We are continuing to work on improving our doubles,” Campbell said. “We are also going to work on finishing our singles matches and becoming more confident. It may not always be pretty wins, but sometimes you have to win ugly.”

Saint Mary’s has less than a month before it heads to the conference tournament, where the Belles finished fourth overall last season.

“Despite our loss to Albion we want to continue to be motivated,” Campbell said. “The loss was tough but we know we are close to breaking through and that should help us the rest of the season.”

The Belles will travel across town to face Bethel today at 4 p.m. and then will host Kalamazoo Saturday at 1 p.m.