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SMC Tennis: Belles finish MIAA with loss to Hope

Aaron Sant-Miller | Monday, April 30, 2012

The Belles struggled in the last of their eight conference matchups Saturday against Hope, losing 8-1. Saint Mary’s had already been ruled out of the MIAA championships after a loss to Kalamazoo on Tuesday, and following Saturday’s loss, it will finish the season sixth in the MIAA.

“[Hope] is a really good team, but that wasn’t really our best effort,” Belles coach Dale Campbell said.

Against Hope (16-7, 8-0 MIAA), the Belles (10-9, 3-5 MIAA) encountered more difficulty in doubles than usual. Doubles is typically a strong suit for Saint Mary’s, propelling the team to a strong start. Despite a strong effort, the Belles only claimed one victory in the three doubles matches against Hope. Freshmen Shannon Elliott and Kayle Sexton won 8-5 at the second doubles.

“We played well in doubles, winning the one doubles match,” Campbell said.
“That was a pretty good match there for us at the second doubles.”

When all was said and done, the victory ended up being the sole win for the Belles.

“I think we fought well in doubles, but we were a little overmatched in total,” Campbell said.

In singles, the Belles struggled even more, as Hope managed to sweep the Belles, taking all six matches.

“I was a bit disappointed in singles,” Campbell said. “We didn’t really show our best effort.”

Sophomore Mary Catherine Faller played the most competitive match for the Belles. Faller challenged her opponent in the second set, but lost the match 6-2, 7-5.

“[Faller] gave their No. 1 a very good battle,” Campbell said. “That was definitely impressive.”

Though the Belles lost handedly to Hope, the Flying Dutch’s victory was not entirely surprising. Hope has gone on to have a very successful season, finishing at the top of the MIAA. Saturday’s victory capped an undefeated season in the MIAA for the Flying Dutch, who notched their 16th win on the season. As a result, Hope rounded out the weekend ranked No. 17 in the region.

“They are just a very athletic team who don’t miss a lot of shots,” Campbell said. “They have a lot of good athletes and are really deep all the way down their roster.”

After a rough week, the Belles will look to end their season on positive note. Saint Mary’s travels to North Central today for its last match of the season.

“We still want to win, but it’s really about getting experience at this point,” Campbell said. “Tomorrow is about competing, experience and having a strong finish.”

Saint Mary’s will look to fulfill these goals when they challenge North Central at 4 p.m. in Naperville, Ill.

Contact Aaron Sant-Miller at asantmil@nd.edu