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SMC Tennis: Belles take on Hornets with eyes set on MIAA’s

Isaac Lorton | Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Coming off of a key win against Adrian, Saint Mary’s looks to get one step closer to the MIAA tournament by defeating Kalamazoo.

“We went in to the match against Adrian thinking it was going to be a close one,” Belles coach Dale Campbell said. “It was a good confidence boost to get a convincing win. We won all of our doubles and most of our singles [matches].”

The top four teams in the conference will compete for the conference title and at this point, the Belles (10-7, 3-3 MIAA) are in sixth place. Alma sits in fifth place, having completed its conference matches with a record of 4-4. Calvin occupies fourth place with a conference record of 4-2 and Kalamazoo (5-14, 5-2) is in third.

With only two conference games left, the Belles need to win out and hope that Calvin (6-10) slips up. Saint Mary’s will likely get a game back when Calvin faces off with conference leading Hope, but will need a lot of help as from second-to-last place Trine, Calvin’s final opponent.

Before entering into a consideration of the many possible conference outcomes, the Irish must secure a victory over Kalamazoo.

“Yes, it is a must, must win,” Campbell said. “Kalamazoo’s overall record itself is not impressive, but their out-of-conference schedule was rough. It will be an extremely hard-fought match.”

Campbell said the Belles need to step up their game in order reverse a losing trend to Kalamazoo.

“We haven’t beaten them in the past three years,” Campbell said. “I think this is the time we will turn it around. There is definitely an opportunity present and we just need to take advantage of it.”

Saint Mary’s will be strong in the doubles matchups, but the Belles’ singles competitors need to step up and be prepared individually in order to be successful against the Hornets, Campbell said.

“Our doubles have played better all year,” Campbell said. “Our singles will need to have a good outing.”

Campbell said the lopsided success comes from the freshmen having more experience previously in doubles than in singles play.

“I don’t think it is any more pressure in singles than in doubles,” Campbell said. “Our freshmen players just had more experience in high school. The freshman have progressed and done very well, though.”

Although he has a history of mixing up his team’s lineup, Campbell said there would be no changes made for the Kalamazoo match.

With home-court advantage on their side, the Belles look to put themselves in a playoff position with a win over the Hornets at 4 p.m.

Contact Isaac Lorton at ilorton@nd.edu