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SMC Tennis: Belles to face Alma in conference opener

Andrew Owens | Thursday, March 25, 2010

Having won six of their last eight games, the Belles face off with Alma College in a battle of MIAA opponents this weekend.

Saint Mary’s (6-3) will look to bounce back after Saturday’s 6-3 loss to Indiana Wesleyan.

Junior Jillian Hurley won in three sets at the No. 1 singles position, while junior Franca Peluso won in two sets at No. 4 singles in the nonconference matchup. The No. 2 doubles combination of Hurley and junior Mary Therese Lee also won in two sets.

“Our doubles teams are coming together quickly and are close to pulling out some of the tight matches,” junior Kate Grabarek, an Observer sports writer, said. “We have gotten extremely strong play from our No. 2 doubles team in juniors Jillian Hurley and Mary Therese Lee. Junior Franca Peluso and senior Camille Gebert lost another close match.”

The match against Alma will mark the beginning of conference play for the Belles. Alma enters the match 0-1 in conference play and 5-4 on the season.

“Alma lost a close match 5-4 against Albion earlier this season and have added some new players to the roster so they will be a tough opponent,” Grabarek said.

For the Belles, this time of year not only signifies the start of conference play, but also some changes to the way they practice.

“We have been working on little things and adjusting to being outside,” Grabarek said. “With the Indiana spring weather you have to be prepared for anything. We went outside for the first time in Indiana last week, and then played our first match outside on Saturday.”

No. 2 singles player Camille Gebert serves as the team captain and as the lone senior Belle.

“Camille is a terrific leader both on and off the court,” Grabarek said. “She has been our captain for the past three seasons and has done a great job. She is a motivated person and very positive towards the team in general, which helps keep our spirits up even when we get down.”

The Belles hope to get off on the right foot in conference play this weekend when they face off against Alma Saturday at 1 p.m.