SMC wins 14 matches to boast best season in over a decade
Alex Ellyin | Friday, May 13, 2016
Saint Mary’s had its best season in over a decade but wound up falling short of a conference title when it lost to Hope in the MIAA tournament semifinals to close out its season.
The Belles (14-6, 5-3) secured 14 victories on the season, the most wins the program has had since 2004. The team, led by senior captain Andrea Fetters, had numerous statement wins on their schedule, none bigger than its 9-0 sweep against Albion on Senior Day, head coach Dale Campbell said. He also said he knows this team was special and knows even greater success will come in the future.
“I was most impressed with their teamwork and unity,” Campbell said. “Our team is fairly young, but they have a great bond with each other already. Our doubles is improving, and we are getting mentally and physically tougher as a team.”
The team was young for the most part, as there were only two seniors on the roster. But that experience made a world of difference for the Belles according to Campbell.
“The experienced players have worked well with the younger players, and they all understand the value of [teamwork],” Campbell said. “They have continued to stay focused in a long season, and have prepared for each match individually. They handle what is in front of them very well.”
Out of the team’s 14 wins this season, six were clean sweeps at 9-0, showing how dominant the Belles proved to be at times. These victories came against the aforementioned Albion as well as Judson, Wittenburg, Concordia, Trine and Bethel.
Campbell also said he is very proud of the fact that after each loss this year, the Belles fought back to avenge the loss in the following match.
“Our team doesn’t get down very long,” Campbell said. “When they lose, they are upset, but they use that for motivation. We can always use more of that channelling of energy toward higher goals, but this is a fairly mature team in terms of preparation. Our record in close sets is also incredible. We have won about 80 percent of the close ones.”
Following the loss to Hope, Saint Mary’s season came to an end. It did, however, mark the third straight season the Belles finished in the conference’s top four to earn a spot in the postseason.