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Saint Mary’s takes on Calvin

Molly Sammon | Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Belles will travel to Grand Rapids, Mich., on Wednesday to face Calvin in hopes of boosting their record above .500 on the season.

“I am expecting a tough match from Calvin,” Belles coach Dale Campbell said. “It may be a battle of who can fight and persevere the most.”

A very hard schedule in the first half of the season has given the team an extra boost as they move into this challenging conference match. This season, the Belles have played three nationally ranked teams who have prepared the team for the MIAA schedule.

“I think that playing those tough teams will give us an advantage in the long run against some of the better teams in our conference, and better prepare ourselves for what lies ahead in the rest of the season,” junior Camille Gebert said.

In terms of the competition that the Knights will provide, Calvin has put together three strong victories against Lincoln, Bryn Mawr and Aquinas.

“Our team has shown improvement in winning difficult matches,” Campbell said. “I am expecting them to come out aggressive in doubles and to be focused against us.”

In practice the girls have changed up their normal routine to better fit what it will take to beat Calvin, last year’s conference runner-up.

“We have been working on improving our fundamentals of doubles play and trying to get off to a good start in matches,” Campbell said.

There is one area of the game in particular that has been emphasized for today’s match and for the remainder of the season.

“In practice we are really focusing on doubles and doubles strategy, because winning the three doubles matches is so important,” sophomore Jillian Hurley said.

Last year against the Knights, Saint Mary’s was unable to claim a victory, but a new team and a new approach might change the outcome this season.

“We have a much stronger team than last year, so it would be great for everyone to step it up and pull out a win,” Hurley said.

The Belles will face the Calvin Knights on the road beginning at 4 p.m.