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SMC Tennis: Belles drop in close match

Matthew Robison | Monday, April 19, 2010

The Belles dropped their third straight MIAA conference match Saturday, falling to Kalamazoo 6-3.

Saint Mary’s (8-7, 2-3) stuck close with the Hornets (9-7, 4-2) but could not avoid dropping one more spot in the MIAA rankings, which will determine seeding for the postseason tournament.

“We played Kalamazoo really close and it came down to a few matches at the end,” senior captain Camille Gebert said. “I think we all knew it was going to be a matter of one or two points.”

Gebert won at No. 2 singles, junior Franca Pelusa won at No. 4 singles and the No. 2 doubles team of juniors Mary Therese Lee and Jillian Hurley claimed a victory.

Gebert won her singles match 6-2, 6-2, but she felt another victory in doubles would have given the Belles the necessary encouragement to go out and win the match outright.
“If we could have pulled out one more doubles match I think we could have won,” Gebert said. “Having the edge going into singles is really crucial.”

Because Kalamazoo and Saint Mary’s are so close in the MIAA standings, there is a high probability that Saturday will not be the last time the Belles and Hornets will square off this year.

“There is a very great chance that we will see them in the first round of the conference tournament,” Gebert said. “Based on our performance yesterday, I have confidence that we will pull through and beat them.”

Gebert said a few breaks that went Kalamazoo’s way had a big impact on many of the matches.

“I think the major factor in the outcome was momentum,” Gebert said. “There was a point when four of the singles matches were looking good for us. We had the momentum. But in tennis, one close point could change the whole outcome of a match and I think that is what happened in a few of our final singles matches.”

Gebert said that she focuses on one match at a time, using each previous match as a jumping off point, making the necessary improvements. That is something that Belles coach Dale Campbell has stressed the entire season.

“Personally, I approach every match with a sense of urgency, as if this is the match that matters the most,” Gebert said. “As a team, we go into each match with a determination to improve on the last match.”

With only a few matches left in the MIAA season, the Belles need to find that gentle balance between urgency and improvement. With the postseason tournament rapidly approaching, Saint Mary’s needs to put themselves in the best possible position in order to make a run at the conference title.