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SMC Tennis: Belles face first place Hope in MIAA match

Katelyn Grabarek | Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Belles will face a stiff challenge today, facing off against conference leader Hope on the road in a key MIAA battle.

The Saint Mary’s tennis team will travel to Hope (13-5, 5-0) for one of its final conference matches before the conference tournament in Kalamazoo next weekend.

“This season has been great thus far,” sophomore Jessica Kosinski said. “Our team has developed a relationship like none other. We are so unified and together we have what it takes to win.”

The Belles (7-8, 2-3) are coming off a dominant 9-0 win over Trine on Monday, rebounding after losing three straight conference matches.

While the Belles were able to win convincingly over the Thunder, they will have a tougher time with Hope, who is currently undefeated in the conference.

“Hope is really tough and they will be ready for us,” head coach Dale Campbell said. “They have been on a role as of late. Hopefully we can bring our best game and give them a close match. We look forward to the challenge.”

Campbell made a few changes to his lineup against Trine to get more aggressiveness at doubles.

“Primarily, we have improved our singles play,” Campbell said. “We are also maturing as a team and competing better mentally although we need more improvement in that area. We are learning where we need to improve our games.”

Junior Camille Gebert has been a force at No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles for Saint Mary’s.

Gebert is 11-2 at No. 2 singles this far this season including 5-0 in MIAA competition.

“She is a fighter and willing to run all day to win a match,” Campbell said. “Her fitness level gives her a great amount of confidence.”

After traveling to Hope today, the Belles will travel to Adrian on Saturday before wrapping up their regular season schedule against Olivet on Monday.

“We are trying to take one match at a time,” Campbell said. “We are trying not to look too far ahead. We are trying to get better in the next two weeks to compete well at the conference tournament.”

After their match against Hope, Saint Mary’s should have an easier road leading up to the conference tournament as Olivet and Adrian have combined for only two league wins this season.

“Our number one team goal is to win conference,” Kosinski said. “We will do whatever it takes to succeed and we are all in this together.”

The Belles will be looking to improve on their fourth place finish in the conference from last season.

The match against Hope will begin at 4 p.m. today.