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SMC Tennis: Belles drop first two matches

Casey Karnes | Monday, February 11, 2013

 

Saint Mary’s did not bloom as spring season began, falling to Case Western, 9-0, and Ohio Northern, 7-2, on Saturday at One Wellness Sports and Health Center in Eastlake, Ohio.

The Belles (0-2) were unable to gain much traction against either opponent in singles or doubles.

Case Western (4-0), ranked seventh in the region, proved to be exceptionally tough, as the Spartans took all nine flights.

Saint Mary’s coach Dale Campbell had nothing but praise for his team’s opponents. 

“Case Western was definitely a tough opponent, and they have a good chance to be highly ranked nationally sometime during the season,” Campbell said. “And Ohio Northern is also a strong opponent. Hopefully, facing these two teams can show us what we need to do to get to their level.”

The separation between the clubs showed, as Case Western swept the Belles, 9-0, and Ohio Northern (6-1) nearly did so, winning 7-2. 

After the match, Campbell made no excuses for his players, placing the onus directly on his team’s quality of play.

“I don’t think we played particularly well against these two solid teams,” Campbell said. “I wasn’t necessarily pleased with our overall play. We made too many errors and have a lot to work on in both doubles and singles.”

One bright spot that shone through the otherwise dreary weekend was the play of the Belles’ second doubles team, consisting of freshman Margaret Faller and sophomore Shannon Elliot. The duo followed up a well-contested defeat against Case Western with a 9-7 victory against Ohio Northern, one of Saint Mary’s only two wins against the Polar Bears.

The other winner was junior Mary Catherine Faller, a returning captain and the Belles’ No. 1 player. She was able to pull out a victory in singles, clawing back to win in a tiebreak. After falling in the first set, 4-6, Faller reversed the score to win the next set, and then pulled out the tiebreak 10-7.

Those two wins counted as the entirety of the Belles’ victories this weekend, but Campbell said he saw reason to hope improvement will lie in the future of his program.

“We can use this weekend as an opportunity to grow, to better ourselves,” Campbell said. “We only had four weeks of practice before this, so we can use this experience to see what we need to improve for the next match.”

The Belles have a long layoff before their next match on March 10 against Illinois Wesleyan.

Contact Casey Karnes at wkarnes@nd.edu