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SMC Tennis: Doubles improves in win

Meaghan Veselik | Sunday, April 13, 2008

Saint Mary’s recorded its second MIAA win Saturday with an 8-1 victory over Tri-State, improving the Belles’ record to 6-9 overall and 2-3 in MIAA play. The Thunder fell to 3-9 overall and 0-6 in the MIAA.

“We played pretty well overall,” Saint Mary’s coach Chuck Rubino said. “Tri-State was a pretty decent squad, better than I expected them to be. We showed a strong team effort.”

Saint Mary’s had been struggling in doubles competition this season, but it didn’t show on Saturday. The Belles won two out of the three doubles matches behind the leadership of the No. 1 doubles duo of sophomore co-captain Camille Gebert and freshman Jillian Hurley. Gebert and Hurley defeated Tri-State’s Amanda Waidely and Dana Dunham 8-1 for their seventh win of the season, moving their record to 7-8.

The Belles No. 2 doubles pair of sophomore co-captain Lisa Rubino and freshman Betsy Reed was defeated by Kara Kauffman and Amanda Steiner 8-5, putting the Belles duo at 5-8 for the season. Freshmen Franca Peluso and Jessica Kosinski won 8-5 over Stephanie Steiner and Jen Wall to help win the doubles portion for Saint Mary’s.

The Belles momentum from doubles carried over to the singles as they swept that part of the match. In the No. 1 slot, Gebert defeated Stephanie Steiner 6-1, 6-1 for her seventh win, putting her at 7-8. Hurley continued her successful season at No. 2 singles with her 13th win of the season. Hurley beat Tri-State’s Waidely 6-0, 6-2, moving her to 13-2. At No. 3, Reed continued Saint Mary’s dominance with her defeat over Amanda Steiner 5-7, 6-0, 1-0 (10-4), followed by Kosinski’s 6-1, 6-2 defeat over Kara Kauffman in No. 4 singles. Rubino beat the Thunder’s Dunham 6-4, 6-1 in the No. 5 match, and Peluso finished the Belles sweep with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Wall.

“It was a good win that we needed,” Rubino said. “We needed a confidence- builder. It came at the right time, and I think it will propel us in the next few matches.”

Up next for Saint Mary’s is a week full of matches, including three at home. Tuesday the Belles will host Bethel for a cross town rivalry match at 4 p.m. Saint Mary’s will play against conference rivals Adrian on Thursday, and Kalamazoo on Saturday. The Belles will finish off the week Sunday at Alma for another MIAA match.

“All the girls played pretty well on Saturday,” Rubino said. “We showed some consistency, but this win wasn’t like beating Kalamazoo or Albion, which are stronger teams in the conference.”

A win over Tri-State may not be as important as a win over other MIAA teams, but another win for Saint Mary’s certainly can’t hurt.

“This win means we got a little momentum,” Rubino said. “I hope this momentum keeps going, and I hope we take it into our next matches. I really think we’re capable of winning these next few matches.”