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SMC Tennis: Belles fall to ranked opponent Ind. Wesleyan

Matthew Robison | Monday, March 22, 2010

The Belles dropped a close match to No. 13 Indiana Wesleyan Saturday, 6-3, despite another impressive showing by junior Jillian Hurley, the Belles’ No. 1 singles player and member of the No. 2 doubles pair.
Belles coach Dale Campbell said he was pleased by the Belles’ (6-3) improvement despite the loss, and noted that Saint Mary’s was only slightly outmatched by an undefeated Indiana Wesleyan, a powerhouse in its own conference.
“I thought we had a little bit of an off day,” Campbell said. “We played a good team in Indiana Wesleyan.”
From the outset of the season, Campbell has stressed the importance of doubles play as an aspect the team must improve in order to have a successful season. The improvements he has been seeing, however, are central to this goal.
“Our doubles game is improving,” Campbell said. “We’re still trying to get more aggressive, though.
“Our overall game just needs to keep improving,” Campbell said. “Our No. 1 doubles team played really well, despite losing, and we seemed to play the net much more aggressively. I was happy with their improvement.”
Hurley continues to stand out as the Belles’ top performer. She defeated Wildcat Lisa Massey in three sets and won the No. 2 doubles match with partner Mary Therese Lee. Hurley has yet to drop a match on the individual side and has won all but one of her doubles matches so far this season. Campbell has also been pleased by Hurley’s performance this season, he said.
Junior Franca Peluso at No. 4 singles was the only other Belles singles win Saturday.
This weekend marked the end of the Belles’ nonconference competition. With six quality wins under their belt, they will move forward with confidence as they prepare for MIAA play.
Last year Saint Mary’s finished fifth in the conference, ending the season with a win over Olivet in the conference tournament. The team will to improve upon its 2009 standing this spring.
Saint Mary’s begins its conference season Saturday against Alma. The match will take place either outdoors on the Saint Mary’s campus or indoors at Notre Dame, depending on the weather.