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SMC Tennis: Belles notch four wins in Orlando

Matt Robison | Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Over a long Spring Break trip to Orlando, Fla., the Belles claimed four victories, while only dropping one match.

Saint Mary’s (6-2) topped Ursinus, Carthage, Wartburg and St. Francis (Ill.) and lost to Wesleyan.

The trip not only allowed the Belles to work on those facets of their game that needed improvement, such as doubles play and shot-making, but the players were also able to develop a sense of “team” that was still in the making.

“I think a trip like this only makes the team stronger,” Belles coach Dale Campbell said. “We figure out ways to motivate each other on the court, and learn what helps our teammates the most. Our team is coming together as a unit the more they are together.”

Heading into the trip, the Belles stood at 2-1, and Campbell stressed the importance of improvement in their doubles play and conditioning. By going 4-1, the Belles proved they have been hard at work in doing so.

“We are getting stronger in doubles,” Campbell said. “Our pairings are communicating better and improving as doubles teams.”

The Belles dominated Wartburg, 8-1, shut out St. Francis and Ursinus, 9-0, and won a close one over Carthage. One more match was scheduled against Wheaton, but it was canceled due to rain. The one loss came in a close match to Wesleyan, 5-4, and Campbell made it clear the Belles want more out of themselves.

“I believe that our players want another chance at them, which is the attitude we need to have,” Campbell said. “To say that we are satisfied would not be correct.”

The Belles had a solid tournament all around as a team, but Junior Jillian Hurley stood out. Hurley went 10 matches without losing, winning all five of her individual matches at the No. 1 spot and all five of her doubles matches with partner Mary Therese Lee.

Despite having only one senior on the squad, Campbell said the Belles showed a great deal of maturity in quickly picking themselves up after the loss to Wesleyan to beat Wartburg.

“A veteran team seems to do a better job of taking each match individually and getting up for those matches,” Campbell said.

After the strong showing in Orlando, the Belles need to continue to improve heading into league play.

“We still have to get much better and raise our expectations individually and as a team,” Campbell said.  “We certainly must realize that we can still improve physically, mentally, and emotionally.  We have some tough teams in our conference and have some strong non-conference matches ahead of us.”

Up next for the Belles is a matchup Saturday with Indiana Wesleyan, a team that beat them last year.

“We need to use that as motivation and expect to play our best against them,” Campbell said.