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SMC Tennis: Belles wrap up season with a win despite sophomore’s absence

Aaron Sant-Miller | Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Despite missing the conference tournament, the Belles still managed to end the season on a high note. On Monday the team traveled to Naperville, Ill., to take on North Central in the last game of their season. When all was said and done, the Belles left with another win as they beat the Cardinals 6-3.

“I thought we did pretty well,” Belles coach Dale Campbell said. “It ended up being a good win overall for us.”

Uncharacteristically, the Belles (11-9, 3-5 MIAA) started slow in doubles. The Cardinals (9-7, 3-3 CCIW) jumped out early, claiming both the first and the second doubles. Yet the Belles were able to claim the third doubles behind the strong play of freshmen Audrey Kiefer and Kate Snyder. Snyder and Kiefer won in decisive fashion with a final score of 8-2.

“We didn’t play the greatest in doubles to start, but we played better and better as the match went on,” Campbell said.

Part of this slow start could be attributed to playing on an indoor surface, Campbell said.

“We played on an indoor surface, which is a little different, and that took us a little while to get a rhythm,” Campbell said. “I think once we got in a rhythm and played our game, we played well enough to get the job done.”

This was apparent as the Belles were able to bounce back in singles, winning five of the six matches. The Belles only loss was on the No. 1 singles court, as freshman Kayle Sexton fell to North Central senior Cory Schillerstrom. The Belles claimed straight set victories in the second, third, fourth and sixth singles. In the fifth singles, sophomore Margaret Boden earned the last victory for the Belles. She won 2-6, 6-3, 10-5.

The Belles faced an unexpected challenge as well. Due to personal reasons, sophomore Mary Catherine Faller was unable to make the trip. Until Monday, Faller had played every single match at No. 1 singles and was on her way to a strong sophomore campaign.

Faller’s absence gave the Belles an opportunity to display some of their depth, as Snyder and sophomore Sarah Monte stepped in. Both players were able to claim victories for the Belles and performed admirably, Campbell said. Monte pulled out a straight-set victory in the sixth singles, Snyder helped claim the only doubles victore playing alongside Kiefer.

“Kate and Audrey are good friends and they played very well together,” Campbell said. “It worked out, but it wasn’t any sort of lineup decision based on talent or performance.”

As this was the last match of the season for the Belles, the team can now look back on the season and evaluate how things have gone Campbell said.

“I think everyone has basically been able to take an inventory on what we have to work on for next year,” Campbell said. “I think we learned that we have to play even more aggressive and have realized that we have to work harder on our footwork.” The goal is to play better in the conference against the top teams, Campbell said.

“We have to be more athletic,” he said. “But, more importantly, we have to be steadier in singles to beat the top teams.”

Contact Aaron Sant-Miller at asantmil@nd.edu