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SMC Tennis: Belles begin 10th year with spring break trip

Meaghan Veselik | Thursday, February 28, 2008

Saint Mary’s opens its 10th season this spring break as it travels to Orlando, Fla., for seven non-conference matches.

The Belles, who went 13-13, 5-3 MIAA last spring, finished out their season tied for fourth in the conference with rival Calvin, their best final standing since placing first in 2004.

New to the squad this season is head coach Chuck Rubino and eight freshman members, who join the two returning team members, sophomores Camille Gebert and Lisa Rubino.

“We’re going to have a relatively young team, starting four freshmen and two sophomores,” Rubino said. “We have a lot of potential that’s untested, and spring break will be a good time to get our feet wet and get in some good competition.”

The Belles will play all non-conference teams over break and are looking forward to the matches as a chance to prepare for this season’s MIAA competition

“Spring break is going to give the coaches a real chance to see the girls play under fire,” Rubino said. “They are tired of playing each other and are ready to take it out on other players. The coaches especially want to see how the girls compete under pressure.”

Having only two returning members does put Saint Mary’s in a different position than other MIAA competitors, but Gebert sees it as an advantage.

“I think that it is such a positive thing, plus an advantage, having eight new freshman, and only two returners leading the team this year,” Gebert said. “It will put us ahead of other teams, because we have so much talent this year, and even more depth.”

Along with new members, a new coach and a new season come new goals for this young team.

“One of the goals is to improve on our dual meet record and compete for the MIAA championship,” Rubino said. “We’d like to improve on fourth place from last year, and I think we have the potential to do that. We want to improve team comradery and the chemistry of the team; we have a lot of new players. Our doubles haven’t played with one another, and to improve as a team overall is a goal we strive for daily.”

The Belles start competing on March 2 in Orlando, where they will play seven times – against Methodist, Martin Methodist, Grand Valley State, Kings, Ursuline, Saint Scholastica and Wayne State – throughout the week, and they will begin conference play on March 18 at Albion.

“We’re all anxious to go down south and start competing,” Rubino said. “All the girls and the coaching staff want to see where this potential will go.”