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SMC Tennis: Squad tunes up for spring

Observer Staff Report | Friday, September 21, 2012

With only three returning players, the young Saint Mary’s team is ready to test its mettle in the only tournament of the fall season. The Belles will compete at the MIAA flighted tournament in Kalamazoo, Mich., on Friday.

The Belles, who finished 2011 with a record of 11-9, are looking to repeat the early success of last season. Saint Mary’s won six of its first eight matches, sweeping three, before hitting a rough patch through conference play.

In this tournament, the Belles will compete against conference opponents and play will be based on individual individual matches rather than team scores. Three winners will be crowned in the singles bracket, one for each flight, and two winners in the doubles brackets.

Saint Mary’s has little experience to rely on entering this tournament. Returning sophomores Margaret Boden, Mary Catherine Faller and Sarah Monte all competed in the 2011 season and currently serve as tri-captains for the Belles.

There is a range of experience between the returning three players. Boden finished at the top of the returning players with a 10-9 freshman season overall, the second-best record for the Belles last year. She also played most of the season as part of the No. 1 doubles team for the Belles. Meanwhile, Monte only played in one conference match, though she appeared in several exhibition matches before the season began.

Faller, who finished 9-10 on the season, earned First Team All-MIAA honors at the end of the season with a 5-3 record at No. 1 doubles. Faller also spent much of the season at No. 3 singles. She also served as a co-captain in the 2011 season.

The freshmen come in with successful high-school careers. Shannon Elliot, from Plymouth, Ind., received honorable mention in All-State twice. Almost all of the new players were captains on their high school teams and earned honors in academics.

The Belles season won’t officially begin until Feb. 9 with matches against Case Western and Ohio Northern.

Saint Mary’s will take to the court to compete for the only time this fall today at 8 a.m. and all day tomorrow in the MIAA-flighted tournament in Kalamazoo, Mich.