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SMC Tennis: Saint Mary’s sets sights on conference tournament

Samantha Zuba | Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Two more conference matches means two more chances for the Belles to make a statement and secure a place in the MIAA’s top four. If Saint Mary’s (10-6, 4-2 MIAA) ends the season in the top four, it is headed to the MIAA conference tournament.

Coming off a 6-3 victory over non-conference North Central, the Belles will try to keep rolling with the same focused mindset in a conference match against Calvin.

“No changes right now,” Belles coach Dale Campbell said. “Just to improve every day and continue to play better doubles and figure out how to win the close singles matches.”

Saint Mary’s has just two regular season matches left, one at Calvin (5-12, 3-4) on Wednesday and one at Kalamazoo (10-7, 5-1) on Saturday. For the eighth season in a row, the Belles have won at least 10 matches.

Calvin has struggled this season, but took a positive turn on March 8, edging No. 25 Davenport, 5-4. The Knights’ No. 3 through 6 singles secured victories, as did No. 3 doubles. Campbell said he was cautiously confident heading into the match against a struggling team.

“Confident, but taking absolutely nothing for granted,” Campbell said.

Last season, Calvin finished fourth in the MIAA with a 5-3 conference record to snag the final spot in the MIAA tournament. The Knights have not performed as well in conference this season, but Calvin has won three straight conference matches. The most recent win came Monday against Trine, when the Knights triumphed 6-3. Campbell insisted the Belles could not take the matches against Calvin lightly.

“We have lost to Calvin a lot over the years, but have won recently,” Campbell said. “They are a very formidable opponent.”

The Knights defeated Olivet, 8-1, on Friday. The Belles also secured one of their largest margins of victory against Olivet, which ended its season winless. Saint Mary’s defeated the Comets, 9-0, on April 4.

Regardless of what happened throughout the rest of the season, Campbell said the only focus should be on the upcoming match and trying to win.

“Bottom line, we want to get the victory, but we have to focus on the ball and one shot at a time,” Campbell said.

Saint Mary’s will travel to Calvin on Wednesday for matches beginning at 4 p.m.

Contact Samantha Zuba at szuba@nd.edu