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Belles drop first-round match, finish fifth in conference

Ellyn Michalak | Monday, April 30, 2007

After losing their first match this weekend, the Belles were only able to grasp fifth place in the MIAA conference tournament. “I think that the tournament went well. We didn’t do as well as we hoped but as a team we came together and did the best we could,” senior captain Kelly McDavitt said. “We all supported one another and that helps the players. It was a good experience overall.”In the first match of the weekend, the Belles fell 5-2 to Calvin College. In the first singles spot, McDavitt dominated, defeating Knight’s freshman Elizabeth Geenen in two straight sets, 6-2 and 6-2. In No. 3 singles, Knights senior Allyson Logan narrowly defeated Belles freshman Lisa Rubino in three matches, 6-3, 1-6 and 6-1. Belles senior Tara O’Brien also fell in the number four spot to Knight’s freshman Rachel Strikwerda. Belles junior Cassie Quaglia fell in two sets to Knight’s freshman Rachel DeGroot. Though the Belle’s powerhouse duo of McDavitt and freshman Camille Gebert shut out the Knight’s duo of Strikwerda and Kara Lipinski 8-0, Grace Gordon and Tara O’Brien fell at No. 2 doubles 8-6 to Logan and Jill VanVeen. In the third doubles match, the Belles freshman duo of Rubino and Erin Kaplan narrowly fell to Geenan and DeGroot. The loss to Calvin placed the Belles in the loser’s bracket, where they next went on to play Alma College. In the second match of the weekend, the Belles dominated nearly shutting out Alma College 5-1. The Belles won every singles set of the match, McDavitt defeating Laura Kendrick 6-2 and 6-1 in the number one spot, Gebert defeating Kelly Schwartzkopf 6-0 and 6-2 in the second spot, and Gordon defeating Betsy Bulthuis 6-1 and 6-2 at No. 6. In doubles competition, both Gebert and McDavitt and Gordon and O’Brien won, 8-5 and 8-4, while the No. 3 doubles duo of Kaplan and Rubino fell narrowly, 9-7.Winning the match against Alma allowed the Belles to compete in the fifth place match, where they defeated Olivet 7-2.In the final match of the 2007 season, Saint Mary’s dominated in singles play. Olivet’s Rachel Vilums retired at No. 1, giving the win to McDavitt. At No. 2, Gebert retired, and Olivet achieved their only singles win. Rubino defeated Abbie Utberg 6-1 and 6-1. O’Brien dominated as well, shutting out Jaime Morrison in two straight sets 6-0 and 6-0. Quaglia defeated Celeste Gruber 6-2 and 6-1 at No. 5. In the final singles match, Gordon defeated Olivet player Lindsey Struble 6-4 and 6-4. In doubles competition, the first Belles duo of Gebert and McDavitt fell to Vilums and Mallory Bailey 8-3. O’Brien and Gordon narrowly defeated the Olivet team of Utberg and Jaclyn Mummaw 8-6 at No. 2, and Rubino and Kaplan defeated Olivet players Corey Jager and Struble 8-4 in the final spot. With an overall record of 13-13 and a conference record of 5-3, the Belles finished the season tied for fourth place with Calvin College. “We did pretty well this season. We improved a lot since last year and we’re going to be ready for the next season,” McDavitt said. “We had many strong freshmen this year who learned a lot this season and will take their experience into next season and help lead the team,”