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SMC Tennis

Saint Mary’s takes down struggling Olivet in conference clash

| Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Saint Mary’s continued MIAA conference action Saturday against Olivet in Battle Creek, Michigan, defeating the Comets by an 8-1 margin.

Coming off a 9-0 clobbering by Indiana Wesleyan during the week, the Belles (7-7, 2-1 MIAA) were able to turn it around to handle a struggling Comets squad (2-13, 0-4).

Throughout the season, Belles head coach Dale Campbell has pushed for stronger doubles performances, and he saw results this weekend as Saint Mary’s took all three doubles matchups.

“I think we fought hard to get those wins, and it was a very nice effort in doubles,” Campbell said.

At No. 1 doubles, senior captain Kayle Sexton and sophomore Sam Setterblad rallied to win their match in a tiebreak, winning 9-8 after taking home a 7-1 decision in the tiebreaker.

“Kayle and Sam came back in their match and just used that momentum going into the tiebreaker,” Campbell said. “They believed they could win, and they did.”

Freshman Maddie Minaudo played with junior Margaret Faller at No. 2 doubles, and the two brought home an 8-3 victory over Olivet freshmen Haley Powers and BreAnne Rudlaff. Senior captains Jackie Kjolhede and Shannon Elliott rounded out the doubles scoring with an 8-5 win in the No. 3 doubles slot.

Olivet notched its only point in the match at the No. 1 flight, where Comets freshman Maddy Drikakis defeated Sexton 6-4, 6-2, but the Belles ran the table in the rest of the singles matches.

A pair of freshmen — Bailey Oppman and Kelsey Kopf — had success Saturday for Saint Mary’s; Oppman won 6-1, 6-1, at No. 5 singles over Comets junior Lucy McNally while Kopf did one better at No. 6 singles, topping Olivet senior Devan Thomas 6-0, 6-1.

Campbell said he feels his freshmen will continue to play a significant role for the team moving forward.

“I see a great future with these first year players,” Campbell said, “They will continue to impact [both] singles and doubles and have the ability to play at a high level.”

The balance of the Belles’ wins came from Kjolhede, Elliott and Faller, who won at the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 singles flights, respectively.

The Belles continue MIAA action April 8 at home against Trine. Matches are slated to begin at 4 p.m.

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