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SMC Tennis: Belles end week with three straight victories

Joe Meixell | Tuesday, March 21, 2006

On their annual spring training trip to Orlando, Fla., the Belles began and ended with strong victories sandwiching three close defeats.

“We only played one of the seven matches with our [regular] starting lineup, so that showed us we have a lot of depth to work with the rest of the season,” team No. 1 Kirsten Palombo said.

Saint Mary’s began the week with a 9-0 rout of Ursinus March 12, as Palombo needed three sets to take down her opponent, Courtney Root. Melissa Dingler turned in the team’s fastest victory, losing just three games to Lindsey Kunkel.

The Belles had a much tougher time March 12, falling to Minnesota State-Mankato 5-4. The Belles took two of three doubles points but lost four of six singles matches in the contest.

Later that day, Saint Mary’s suffered a 6-3 defeat at the hands of St. Scholastica. The Belles top-two singles players – Palombo and Kelly McDavitt – won their matches, but the team won just one other set in the singles competition. Much of the same followed March 15 in a 6-3 loss to Southern Nazarene.

The Belles bounced back over the next two days with dominating wins. Saint Mary’s first topped Moorehead State 8-1 March 16. McDavitt’s 6-0, 6-1 victory over Alyssa Schafer highlighted the match.

The next day, Bentley College won just four sets against the Belles as Saint Mary’s rolled to a 7-2 victory, taking all three doubles points. The team’s afternoon match against Milsaps was more of the same, as the Belles captured every singles set and two of the three doubles points.

The 4-3 record was enough to encourage Palombo that the Belles can compete with the best teams in the MIAA.

“We are much stronger physically and mentally after last season and we are ready to go out there and beat teams like Albion and Hope this year to finish higher in the conference,” she said.

Saint Mary’s faces Olivet at Michigan State tonight at 7 p.m.