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SMC Tennis

Saint Mary’s earns multiple wins to start year

| Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Playing at home, Saint Mary’s triumphed with back-to-back wins Friday and Saturday.

The Belles (3-1) defeated St. Francis, 8-1, on Friday night, winning all three doubles flights and five out of six singles at Notre Dame’s Eck Tennis Pavilion.  The Belles followed their victory with a 9-0 win against Wittenberg the following day at Lakeland Athletic Club in Niles, Michigan.

Although Friday’s matchup finished as a blowout, the Belles found themselves behind early in the doubles portion of the match. Junior Sam Setterblad and freshman Monica Davy and sophomore Maddie Minaudo and senior Margaret Faller each attained 8-4 wins at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles, respectively, after trailing 4-3 on Friday. Junior Kaity Venters and senior Andrea Fetters also recovered from a 2-1 deficit to post an 8-3 win at No. 3 doubles.

Belles head coach Dale Campbell said his team worked well under pressure after trailing at the start of their matches.

“They seem to be very composed and do a nice job of gradually escalating their games.  They are strong mentally, and I haven’t seen many looks of desperation,” Campbell said. “They have mostly gone point by point and playing at a pace where they are prepared for most points.”

Saint Mary’s success comes not only from their doubles play but also from singles. The Belles claimed victory in five of the six contests Friday, and the women swept their competition with six singles victories and three wins in doubles Saturday. Campbell said having a dynamic team that can succeed in both singles and doubles play is valuable.

“We talk about coming out with energy early in doubles.  Though we haven’t mastered that, I think that we are at least matching energy with other teams and figuring out how to win as we go along,” Campbell said. “In singles we talk about figuring out our opponents and what may work, so it seems though our team is trying to do that and succeeding to this point.  We will take the progress we are making.”

Saint Mary’s now travels to Florida for spring break where it hopes to continue building momentum against more talented teams, Campbell said.

“The back-to-back wins are great for our confidence, and I thought we could at least be where we are,” he said. “We will have some tough competition coming up in Florida, so we have to raise our games a bit more in the coming days.”

Campbell said Florida will be a chance for the team to continue building chemistry and developing their game.

“I think we will learn how we battle outdoors and perhaps in some windy, sunny conditions,” Campbell said. “We definitely get to know our team better over a five-match stretch, and they get to work with their teammates more as well.  It’s a great trip to get us ready for conference season and also to get us ready for a variety of conditions and a variety of opponents.”

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