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SMC Tennis

Belles start strong in Florida over break

| Thursday, March 17, 2016

Saint Mary’s won three of four contests in a series of dual matches in Haines City, Florida over spring break.

In their first match on March 7 against Ottawa University, the Belles (6-2) tied in singles competition at three games apiece, but lost in doubles 1-2. Saint Mary’s head coach Dale Campbell said although the team did not come out with the win, it displayed mental toughness in the close contest.

“In hindsight, that first match could have gone either way,” Campbell said. “We lost a tie-breaker at number three doubles, and we won a tie-breaker in singles. So, that match just came down to a few points. We also played really well in some matches and didn’t have our best game in others. We feel like our team was not affected greatly by the loss, but I think they were disappointed.

“We feel like we are mentally strong and we have won 11 out of 13 tie-breakers in close matches, so we are proving to play well in close situations.”

On March 8, the Belles proved victorious in another close match against Oglethorpe. Tied 3-3 after the singles matches, the Belles pulled through to win 2-1 in doubles competition. Campbell said it is close games like these which are most indicative for the season ahead.

“I think the 5-4 matches certainly give you some indication [of how the season will turn out],” Campbell said. “And maybe those opponents will be similar to the top teams in our conference.”

The next day, Saint Mary’s defeated Ohio Wesleyan 7-2, as the Belles were victorious in all three doubles flights and four of six singles matches. The continued development and chemistry of the doubles teams is crucial to the team’s overall play, Campbell said.

“I think it definitely provides us with momentum going into singles and it does show excellent teamwork with our players which is very important,” Campbell said.

To wrap up their week, the Belles added a 7-2 victory over Bryn Mawr on March 11. As in the match against Ohio Wesleyan, the team won all of its doubles matches and clinched the victory by winning 4-2 in singles competition.

Campbell said the team has been consistent with their individual contributions. He highlighted the play of junior Samantha Setterblad, as well as the skills of sophomore Maddie Minaudo, who earned the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association women’s tennis Player of the Week award on Monday.

“I think [the team is] about where I thought, but I was very impressed with Maddie Minaudo being undefeated in both singles and doubles,” Campbell said. “Samantha Setterblad also won three matches in tie-breakers, 4-0 in singles, and that was an impressive performance in a clutch situation.”

Campbell said he is looking  for continued improvement in the Belles’ upcoming match against Augustana.

“We definitely want our doubles teams to set each other up even more for finishes at the net, and to play aggressive as we approach our toughest opponents,” he said. “We also want to get better in singles, as it will be tougher against our top three or four conference opponents.”

On Saturday, Saint Mary’s faces Augustana at the South Bend Racquet Club at 11 a.m.

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