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SMC Tennis

Belles look forward to challenging matches

| Friday, April 8, 2016

The Belles face two strong challenges at home this weekend as they look to continue their winning streak in conference play against Hope on Saturday and nonconference opponent North Central on Sunday.

Hope (7-4, 1-0 MIAA) has won seven of its last eight games and is on a three game winning streak. Belles head coach Dale Campbell said the Flying Dutch will be a power just as they was last year with their first-place MIAA finish.

“Hope is a perennial power, so we will be coming in as the underdog in this match,” Campbell said. “We have to be ready to play our best tennis. We have to play strategically sound, and put together our best combinations of shots.”

The Flying Dutch are a strong team overall, and Campbell said the Belles will have to find a way to get the match wins they need.

“Well, of course it is important to get off to a good start in doubles,” Campbell said. “They are strong individually, so our team has to unify together to beat them in doubles. In singles, each player has to figure out their opponent and play their best. The bottom line is that you have to find a way to get five wins.

“We should be more comfortable [in these matches], since we have played a lot of matches to this point. That match against Olivet gave us the feeling of playing a conference match. They were definitely coming after us.”

With a game on Saturday and Sunday, Campbell said the result against Hope should not affect Sunday’s play against North Central (10-5, 4-3 CCIW).

“If we do a good job of preparing our team, [the back-to-back matches] should not matter,” Campbell said. “We have to take one match at a time. Saturday’s is most important because it counts for the conference standings. Win or lose, Sunday will be a new day, and we have to prepare to play well every day.”

Last week, Flying Dutch senior Marie Haloway was named MIAA player of the week, and North Central junior Kelsey Forkin was named CCIW player of the week. Campbell said his team will have to work together to mitigate the presence of the two players.

“Mostly it will be a team effort on our part,” Campbell said. “Opening up with doubles, it is a team game where matching up with an individual is not as important. We play nine total matches, so we won’t be able to focus on just one.”

The Belles face Hope at Saint Mary’s tennis courts Saturday at 1 p.m. They follow that on Sunday with a match against North Central at 1 p.m.

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