The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



SMC Tennis: Belles drop one match, grab win in Cleveland

Jack Hefferon | Monday, February 28, 2011

Saint Mary’s fell to Case Western despite a tough effort on Saturday but bounced back with a resounding win over John Carroll Sunday to end their weekend in Cleveland with success.

The Belles (1-2) entered their first match of the weekend knowing that they were in for a challenge against the Spartans (4-2), specifically their doubles tandem of Erika Lim and Emily Pham.

“[Case Western] was a very tough team,” Belles coach Dale Campbell said. “They had a nationally ranked No. 1 doubles team and some very skilled players. They played very well strategically, too.”

The Spartans prevailed 7-2, sweeping the doubles matches and claiming the top four singles spots as well. Despite the large margin of victory, the Belles turned in several strong performances. Senior Mary Therese Lee stepped up in a tiebreaker late to win No. 5 singles 6-3, 1-6, 10-8, and freshman Kathleen Klauer won in straight sets at No. 6 singles, 6-2, 6-3.

“We definitely took some positives out of our match on Saturday,” Campbell said. “Our doubles game improved a lot and we were in a lot of singles matches against a quality opponent, so we felt good going forward.”

Saint Mary’s then turned their sights to the Blue Streaks.

Despite having very little rest, the Belles dominated throughout, and emerged with an 8-1 victory, their first of the season. The team swept all six singles matches, and displayed their improvement in doubles play, winning two of those three matches as well. Several Belles turned in solid performances, from the dominance of senior Kate Grabarek, who lost just two games in a 6-0, 6-2 win, to the clutch play of senior Jessica Kosinski who overcame a one set deficit to win in a tiebreaker, 3-6, 6-4, 10-7. Klauer had another nice match as well, breaking serve late in the second set to pull off a dramatic 7-6, 7-5 win.

“We kept getting better in our double games. We’re getting more aggressive, which is good, and our teamwork is getting a lot better as well,” Campbell said.

With the majority of the season still to come, Saint Mary’s will hope to build on this newfound momentum and find even more success. With their home opener against Saint Mary’s (MN) over a week away, the Belles will use the next week for some practice and much needed rest.

“We’re looking forward to a bit of a break,” Campbell said. “We have to work on some of the strategy and nuances of the singles game, and how to adjust that in the middle of a match. We’ve also had some injuries that need some time to heal up. [Senior captain] Franca Peluso was one of our best players last year, and we’re looking forward to getting her back. We just need to keep improving.”