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SMC Tennis: Belles fall to Hope, look to bounce back today

Samantha Zuba | Sunday, April 21, 2013


The Belles fell to Hope, 8-1, Saturday in conference play in Holland, Mich

The Belles’ only match win came at No. 2 doubles with freshman Margaret Faller and sophomore Shannon Elliot earning an 8-3 victory.

Belles coach Dale Campbell expressed disappointment that Saint Mary’s (9-6, 4-2 MIAA) could not control doubles play as he had hoped.

“We weren’t successful enough in that area, but unfortunately, we have to learn through our losses sometimes,” Campbell said. “We were definitely outplayed on No. 1 and No. 3 [doubles], but we had some good moments on both courts. We are still too defensive at times.”

Campbell also noted Saint Mary’s stayed a step behind Hope’s (11-6, 6-0) quick, athletic players and could not secure wins despite several close matches.

“We had some very close matches in singles, but they had one more shot and moved their feet better than us overall,” Campbell said.

Next on the schedule for Saint Mary’s is a non-conference matchup with North Central on Monday, the final home match of the season for the Belles. Campbell said he sees the match as an opportunity for Saint Mary’s to fine-tune before its final conference matches.

“Being that they are non-conference, we need to practice the things we should be doing against our top conference opponents,” Campbell said.

Despite this being the last home match, Campbell said his team must stay focused and avoid reflecting on the season too early.

“I think they are more concerned about each match individually,” Campbell said. “It’s too early to reflect, other than to look forward at what we can improve over the next two weeks.”

Monday’s matchup will be the season finale for North Central (11-7, 2-4 CCIW). Regardless of the outcome against the Belles, North Central is poised to finish the season with a winning record despite fielding a young roster featuring five freshmen. Saint Mary’s had a similarly-young lineup last season and Campbell offered an experienced perspective on the Cardinals’ situation.

“With experience, the freshmen do get better,” Campbell said. “I think they learn how to compete and change strategies in a match as needed. I think they develop more confidence as well with each match win. By the end of the season, the freshmen should be stronger.”

In their final home match of the season, the Belles square off with North Central on Monday at 4 p.m.

Contact Samantha Zuba at szuba@nd.edu