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SMC Tennis: Belles face Albion in MIAA tournament

Matthew Robison | Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The No. 5-seed Belles will begin their quest for a conference championship Friday with a first-round match against Albion at Holland Christian High School in Holland, Mich.

Saint Mary’s (11-8, 4-4 MIAA) enters the tournament on a three-match win streak that included a Monday victory over Olivet to close the regular season.

“It’s always good to finish on a winning note,” Belles coach Dale Campbell said. “It’s good for our confidence going into the tournament.”

Although the Belles are in the bottom half of a conference of eight teams, they expect to come out on top against Albion (11-8, 5-3).

“We want to pull off some upsets, but we don’t see ourselves as the underdogs,” Campbell said. “We expect to win and will have to take care of the details necessary to get that done.”

Saint Mary’s will come in with the same approach that they have taken into every match this season — strong play in doubles, solid singles performances and an overall offensive style of play. Campbell said he wants his players to turn up the intensity to prove to the rest of the MIAA that they are a force to be reckoned with.

“We are playing with the idea of earning respect,” Campbell said. “It will not be given to us, but we want to go after it. We have to step things up a notch.”

The Belles will have two practices this week and will not deviate from the norm of everyday preparation. In terms of actual match play, Campbell does not expect a serious deviation from their normal performance, either.

“We just need to be more assertive and raise our expectations and demands on ourselves,” Campbell said.

If the Belles can beat Albion, their road to an MIAA title will run right through national power Calvin.

But that has not fazed Campbell, who has confidence in his team.

“We expect to do great things this weekend,” Campbell said.