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SMC Tennis: Belles set to square off with Bethel

Isaac Lorton | Thursday, April 12, 2012

In one of its biggest regular-season matches of the year, Saint Mary’s will look to take down Mishawaka rival Bethel. Even though the Pilots are a mere five miles away, the Belles will enjoy home-court advantage against the familiar foe.

“Our conference matches are the most important to us,” Belles coach Dale Campbell said. “But this game is definitely up there in terms of importance. You want to beat your cross-town rivals because there will be some bragging rights, which are always nice.”

The Belles (8-6, 1-2 MIAA) seek to draw upon confidence gained from a hard fought 5-4 victory over Trine last week.

“I think the win will serve us well,” Campbell said. “It was a good bounce-back win after a close loss to Alma. It was a great confidence boost because it is pleasing to see the team turn around a tough loss into win.”

Saint Mary’s has had the upper hand against Bethel (10-5, 4-4 MCC) in recent history, winning the past three matchups against the Pilots under Campbell’s coaching term.

“We look to continue this winning streak against Bethel,” Campbell said. “However, we do not want to underestimate them. They have some new players who we are not familiar with, and we can’t look past that. They have a good record this year, so we are expecting a matchup.”

Recently, Campbell has been tinkering with the doubles lineup, but has left the singles side alone. Campbell is now satisfied with the doubles lineup, and as of Wednesday’s practice said there will not be any further changes. He did not count out the possibility of a change occurring in the singles roster before match time, however.

“We have not made any changes to the lineup at this point,” Campbell said. “We might take a look at the order of our singles [Wednesday] at practice. We will primarily be making sure we are in the right spots.”

Campbell’s decision regarding the singles order is partially a product of trying to tailor the lineup to best matchup against the opponent, he said.

“It’s hard to judge singles based on match play, because other teams have different lineups consisting of different talent at each spot,” Campbell said. “It is also difficult to do challenge matches within our team during the season, because we have a limited time during practice. Despite how the lineup will end up, the team is just excited for and looking forward to the upcoming string of matches.”

The Belles start off the first of three matches in a five-day span as they take on the rival Pilots at home today at 4 p.m.


Contact Isaac Lorton at [email protected]