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SMC Tennis: Belles head south over break

D.H. Kim | Wednesday, March 6, 2013


The Belles will head to Orlando, Fla., for their annual spring break trip from March 9-16. Saint Mary’s is scheduled to play exhibitions against regional opponents St. Scholastica, Wisconsin Lutheran, Wheaton and Illinois Wesleyan in addition to Haverford. This will be a familiar schedule for the team as the Belles played three of those teams last year in Orlando and in past years as well. Last year, the Belles decisively defeated Illinois Wesleyan and Wisconsin Lutheran, but fell to St. Scholstica and Wheaton.  Belles coach Dale Campbell said he believes this will be a great opportunity to find out what techniques need more working before the actual conference schedule resumes.

“Teams come from all over the place and they are all familiar with each other,” Campbell said.  “Overall it’s a great place to train. These non-conference games will be great practice.” 

The Belles (0-2) have been slowly rebuilding and improving over the season despite a young roster which currently includes two freshmen, five sophomores, two juniors and no seniors. Last year was a similar case, as the Belles played without a senior. Despite inexperience and a slow start in the season, the Belles built their own momentum fighting strong against dominant Ohio Northern and Case Western teams. Case Western won 9-0 over the Belles while Ohio Northern won 7-2. Leading the team is No. 1 singles and doubles junior co-captain Mary Catherine Faller and all-MIAA first-team selection and sophomore co-captain Audrey Kiefer.

“The co-captains are relatively young but are very respected by teammates so they take on the role of seniors,” Campbell said. “That success and experience by a young group will be crucial for us battle for a top-four spot in the MIAA.” 

After returning from the spring break tuneup in Florida, the Belles will have a couple days off and get back to work on March 20 when they face Indiana Wesleyan, one of the toughest teams on their schedule. Indiana Wesleyan earned the No. 12 ranking in the recent NAIA Women’s Tennis Coaches’ Top-25 Poll. Indiana Wesleyan (15-0) also went unbeaten during the winter season and won the Crossroads League championship for the 21st consecutive season and have won the league title every year since 1992.  Despite these daunting statistics, the Belles will use the spring break trip to hone their game

 “It’s going to be tough game for us but we will work our best and prepare during the break,” coach Campbell said.The Belles spring schedule will officially begin March 20 at 3 p.m. against Indiana Wesleyan.

Contact D.H. Kim at dkim16@nd.edu