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SMC Tennis: Belles lose conference opener 6-3 at Albion

Meaghan Veselik | Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Saint Mary’s opened conference play Tuesday afternoon with a 6-3 loss at Albion (7-0, 3-0 MIAA), dropping its record to 4-5 overall and 0-1 in the MIAA but showing off its strength in doubles, taking two of three doubles matches from their surging hosts.

The Britons are three-time defending league champions and are coming off of four wins last week, and they took care of the Belles as well on Tuesday.

“I thought that overall, we played well as a team,” Belles No. 1 singles player sophomore Camille Gebert. “Personally, I didn’t have my beset day out there, and my loss really hurt our ability to come out with a victory.”

At No. 2 singles, freshman Jillian Hurley managed to get one of the Belles’ two victories on the singles side by defeating Briton sophomore Michelle Mulder 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, moving her singles record to 8-1. Fellow freshman Jessica Camp also beat Albion’s Anna Gunderson 6-0, 6-3 at No. 6 singles.

At No.1 singles, Albion freshman Shelley Zamler defeated Gebert 6-3, 6-2. At No. 3 singles, freshman Betsy Reed fell 6-3, 6-2 to Briton’s Vic Seiter. Albion’s Mara Rendina and Emily Gunderson continued the Briton’s singles domination by defeating freshman Jessica Kosinski 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, and sophomore Lisa Rubino 6-3, 6-1, respectively.

The Belles finally came through on their goal to improve on the doubles side. Saint Mary’s No. 1 doubles pair of Gebert and Hurley took down Albion’s top doubles pair of Mulder and Zamler, 8-4. Gebert and Hurley move their record to 4-4 as a pair while Mulder and Zamler move to 5-2. Rubino and Reed kept up their momentum as a duo, defeating Albion’s Seiter and Rendina 8-4. Saint Mary’s No. 3 doubles pair of freshmen Camp and Kosinski fell 8-1 to Albion’s Anna and Emily Gundersen.

“Jillian and I are finally meshing well together,” Gebert said. “She is a great player and partner.  We have great chemistry, and I have confidence that we will do well in our conference together.  We need to feel more comfortable at the net, but we have enough to back it up in the meantime.”

Saint Mary’s continues conference play when it hosts Calvin on March 26 in its home opener. The Knights are currently 7-1 and have not started MIAA competition.