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SMC Tennis: Belles open hopeful season at Nazarane

Matthew Unger | Friday, February 18, 2011

Saint Mary’s will look to build upon its recent success Saturday in its opening match of the season at NAIA opponent Olivet Nazarene. The Belles will strive for their sixth straight 10-win season along with their first NCAA Division III tournament bid since 2002.

Coach Dale Campbell, in his third year leading the program, hopes to build upon his team’s 13-9 record in dual matches last season, which included a 4-4 record in conference play. However, the team is left with the challenge of filling the void left by graduating senior Camille Gebert. She finished her junior and senior seasons undefeated in MIAA singles matches and earned All-MIAA honors twice.

Senior co-captains Jillian Hurley and Franca Peluso look to be candidates to replace Gebert’s production. Last season, Hurley finished 15-7 in singles matches against the top opposing singles tennis players and has been named to the All-MIAA squad the past two years. In addition, Hurley and fellow senior Mary Therese Lee led the top doubles team in 2010, finishing with a record of 16-6.

Meanwhile, Peluso went 17-5 in her singles matches in 2010 and also teamed with Gebert for doubles matches against the top doubles pairs on opposing teams.

The Belles will seek to utilize their senior leadership, with five out of 10 players on the roster in their senior seasons. This experience will prove beneficial with four freshmen on the roster.

St. Mary’s will take on Olivet Nazarene at 2 p.m. on Saturday and continue with non-conference matches throughout the next month until their MIAA opener against Albion on March 29.