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SMC Tennis: Belles gain experience in loss No. 3 Chicago

Matt Robison | Tuesday, April 13, 2010

No. 3 Chicago demonstrated why its one of the top teams in the country by blanking the Belles, 9-0, in non-conference play Monday.

Despite satisfactory performances in the doubles competition, the Saint Mary’s (8-5, 2-1) was simply overmatched on the court, Belles coach Dale Campbell said.

“[Chicago was] just playing at a really high level,” Campbell said. “Their backcourt hurt us with strong, aggressive ground strokes.”

Coming into the matchup with Saint Mary’s, the Maroons had won six straight, their longest streak of the season.

What the Belles may have lacked in talent and expertise, they made up for in grit, Campbell said.

“We fought hard,” he said. “We played well in doubles. We’re working more on the offensive game we’re trying to play.”

In a season that is a gradual progression that culminates in the conference tournament, it is important to continually improve each and every match. The Belles will look at this match as a learning experience, a chance to identify what their weaknesses are in order to enhance their game.

“We’re going to learn a lot from this match,” Campbell said. “It shows us we have to work really hard to compete at this level.”

With stiff competition ahead, Saint Mary’s should be able to draw from this loss both the physical improvements that need to be made as well as the emotional drive that usually follows from a tough defeat.

“This is good training for our best competition in the MIAA,” Campbell said.

Monday’s match was one of many tough opponents the Belles will face this week. On Wednesday Saint Mary’s will square off against Albion on the road and will then travel to face Kalamazoo on Saturday.

“We played Albion close last year and had a good match against Kalamazoo,” Campbell said. “These are two of the very solid teams in the MIAA.”