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SMC Tennis: Belles get sweep in home opener

Isaac Lorton | Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Starting its home campaign with a strong showing, Saint Mary’s dominated Indiana Tech in a 9-0 victory. The Belles (2-1) won in five straight sets and gained a forfeit over the Warriors (0-4) in their single matches. They took doubles 8-1, 8-1 and earned another forfeit. The Warriors only fielded a five-person roster, giving the Belles an early, uncontested 2-0 lead.

“It’s definitely nice to have a start like (that) right away,” coach Dale Campbell said.

Although young, Campbell claimed the Belles are learning to close games and avoid giving up sets to easier opponents.

“I think it shows maturity to take care of business and finish in two sets,” Campbell said. “In the Olivet match we gave up a few second sets that we shouldn’t have and had to win some tie breakers — we even lost one. It is a good sign that we are starting to shut down the games when we need to and not give the other team a chance.”

Campbell said the Belles have gained invaluable confidence from the past three matches, especially this one. The past two matches, he said, have allowed the Belles to work out the issues they faced.

“Now they have seen it all,” Campbell said. “We have gone against a tough ranked team and two easier teams, and gained a lot of experience. It is good for them to get a couple of wins under their belts and get through some early season nerves.

“They know what it takes to come back from a loss and, more importantly, what it takes to win.”

Campbell gave a nod to Saint Mary’s No. 2 player, freshman Kayle Sexton, as well the Belles’ No. 4 player, freshman Jackie Kjolhede.

“Kayle played a solid opponent who had some weapons, but she showed that she had a lot of strength, stepped up and won convincingly,” Campbell said.

Coming off a foot injury, Kjolhede moved back to her normal No. 4 spot after playing in the No. 5 spot against Olivet.

“[Kjolhede] had a dominant match,” Campbell said. “She had been fighting a nagging injury and she won in straight sets. It was good to see that.”

With this newly gained confidence, the Belles are looking to heat up play in Orlando, Fla., for their annual spring break trip.

Contact Isaac Lorton at ilorton@nd.edu.