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SMC Tennis: Belles routed by Britons, fall to 7-5 for season

Aaron Sant-Miller | Wednesday, March 28, 2012

With the lone exception of Saint Mary’s 5-4 victory over St. Scholastica on March 13, the Belles have either won big or lost big this season. The trend continued Tuesday, as Saint Mary’s lost to conference foe Albion 8-1.

Of the Belles’ 12 matches so far, five have ended with a 9-0 margin, four have ended with an 8-1 margin, and two have ended with a 7-2 margin. Against Albion, (6-2, 2-0 MIAA), Saint Mary’s (7-5, 1-1) could not match up to strong opposition.

“They are definitely a good team,” Belles coach Dale Campbell said. “They are the defending conference champs, but we were maybe a little off our game”

The Belles lone victory was grabbed in the first doubles match by sophomore Mary Catherine Faller and freshman Kayle Sexton. The pair won by a decisive margin of 8-3 over Albion freshman Irene Chen and sophomore Marissa Cloutier.

The Belles struggled in singles play, as Albion won all six matches in straight sets.

Top singles player sophomore Mary Catherine Faller and fellow sophomore Margaret Boden at the sixth spot both played close matches, but were unable to claim victories. Irish freshman Audrey Kiefer played well in her singles match, but also lost a close match to Albion junior Marissa Messenger.

“One singles and five and six singles were pretty good matches,” Campbell said. “We had decent performances in all three of those matches.”

Senior Sarah Towler for Albion continued her impressive spring campaign. Towler managed decisive victories in both the four spot of singles and the two spot of doubles. As a result, Towler remains undefeated in both singles and doubles play, with a combined record of 8-0.

Campbell said he rejects the idea of these losses affecting the mentality of the team.

“I don’t think it really has a bearing in terms of mentally affecting anyone,” Campbell said. “Whether you’re playing singles or doubles, it’s more of a individual thing as you’re out there.”

Furthermore, Campbell said the outcome might not actually be as one-sided as it appears on the score sheet.

“I think that even though 8-1 is the overall score, if you have three or four close matches it feels like you’re a lot closer,” Campbell said. “It doesn’t feel at all like a dominating loss.”

The Belles exit the match with some optimism because they played many of their matches close, Campbell said.

“When the players lose those close ones, they feel like they could have won overall, not just those individual matches,” Campbell said.

The Belles will look to channel their strong performances into winning results when they return home this weekend. After three straight road matches, the Belles to host Alma at 4 p.m. Friday.

Contact Aaron Sant-Miller at asantmil@nd.edu