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SMC Tennis: Belles drop four-game win streak

Samantha Zuba | Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Belles came into Wednesday’s contest riding a four-match winning streak but lost a bit of their momentum with an 8-1 defeat at the hands of Albion in a conference showdown Wednesday.

Due to bleak weather conditions, officials moved the meet indoors to the Eck Tennis Pavilion, and action finally got under way about approximately two hours later around 6 p.m.

Belles coach Dale Campbell said the poor weather conditions could not be used as an excuse for the loss.

“Not really a factor, I guess I would say,” Campbell said. “We knew early in the day we were going to play indoors. Both teams [were] doing the same thing.”

The only win for Saint Mary’s came at the sixth singles spot. Sophomore Jackie Kjolhede delivered the victory 6-1, 6-2 as the meet came to a close.

Sophomore Audrey Kiefer nearly snagged a second victory at No. 4 singles, but lost the tiebreaker. Campbell praised his team for its aggressive play but recognized areas where the Belles could still improve.

“I thought we played with a little bit more urgency because we knew we were playing a strong opponent,” Campbell said. “I still think we have a lot of mistakes we can correct in doubles in terms of movement, in terms of going for first shots.”

Now Saint Mary’s must recover and move on to its next match, when theyit takes on Bethel this afternoon. Though the contest is technically on the road, the Belles will be playing at home against the Pilots from neighboring Mishawaka. Campbell said this set-up could give the Belles a slight boost.

“It could be a small advantage because we know the surface,” Campbell said. “We practice here, so it probably is a bit of an advantage.”

Bethel (12-4, 6-2 Crossroads) has put together a strong season so far and has performed well in conference play. Campbell said the Belles will just have to stick to what they do well.

“It’s mainly about playing your own game and just doing your game better, but Bethel is a team that has played us a bit closer last year,” he said. “We have beaten them the last four or five years, but they did play us closer, and I know they’re a more formidable opponent.”

Bethel had a six-game winning streak stopped by Marian in the Crossroads tournament back in October. Bethel rallied to end the fall season with a 7-2 victory against Manchester College on October 11.

The match against Saint Mary’s will be only the second of the spring for the Pilots. They triumphed April 6 against the Indiana Institute of Technology. Saint Mary’s, on the other hand, has competed throughout March. Campbell said the layoff could help Saint Mary’s, but he would avoid being overconfident.

“When you do play matches frequently, I think they do help you mentally, so it could be an advantage,” Campbell said. “I’m certainly not going to expect it to be an advantage, but it could.”

St. Mary’s will take on crosstown rival Bethel on Thursday at 4 p.m.

Contact Samantha Zuba at  szuba@nd.edu