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SMC Tennis: Belles drop match to Calvin 8-1

Greg Arbogast | Monday, April 24, 2006

This is not how Saint Mary’s envisioned heading into the MIAA conference tournament. After fighting to within a half-game of first place in the conference with a dramatic win over Kalamazoo ten days ago, the Belles fell to fourth place in the MIAA with Saturday’s 8-1 loss to Calvin.

The loss drops Saint Mary’s conference record to 5-3 on the season. The Belles are currently behind Albion, Calvin and Kalamazoo. Calvin moved into second place in the MIAA with its victory over the Belles.

“Calvin is a really good consistent team,” senior co-captain Kristen Palombo said. “They don’t have a true number one player, but their players are very consistent throughout their line-up. That puts other teams at a disadvantage.”

Palombo, who lost her match to Calvin’s Amy Zeilstra by the score of 6-2, 7-5, was one of five Saint Mary’s players to lose her singles match in straight sets.

No. 3 Calie Mulcahy lost to Annie Huizenga 6-4, 6-4, while No. 4 Mary Elizabeth O’Connor was defeated by Kari Lipinski 6-3, 6-0.

No. 5 Tara O’Brien, returning after a one-match absence due to injury, was unsuccessful in her return as she lost to Allyson Logan 6-2, 6-1. No. 6 Melissa Dingler fell short against Kim Bosscher 6-2, 6-4.

Junior co-captain Kelly McDavitt was the only Saint Mary’s player to walk away from Saturday’s match victorious, defeating Emily Dosterhouse 6-1, 6-2.

The inability to win close games, which has been an issue for the Belles in their past couple of matches, plagued Saint Mary’s again Saturday and is an issue that the team knows it must work on.

“In close games, a lot of the time it comes down to believing that you can win the point, and that’s something we’re really struggling with right now,” Palombo said. “We have to play to win the points rather than not to lose them.”

One positive the team took from Saturday’s match was that it prepared the Belles for next weekend’s MIAA conference tournament. Saint Mary’s was on the court for 12 hours against Calvin, and that foreshadows the type of stamina the Belles will need next weekend.

Each player will have to play up to four matches in the conference tournament.

Although Saint Mary’s is currently in the midst of a two-match conference losing streak and a four-match losing streak overall, the team is ready to use the upcoming week to prepare itself for the conference tournament.

“We’re just going to try and have a couple of good practices this week,” Palombo said. “We can’t control our draws, so we’re just going to try and get our confidence back.”