SMC Tennis: Belles dominate Judson
Samantha Zuba | Monday, April 8, 2013
First sophomore Jackie Kjolhede and junior Margaret Boden won at No. 3 doubles. Then freshman Margaret Faller and sophomore Shannon Elliot took No. 2 doubles. And then, Saint Mary’s won at every singles and doubles flight in a home meet against Judson on Friday.
Belles coach Dale Campbell said he was pleased with the focus his team displayed in each match.
“Everyone just had to focus on playing the best they could for themselves and let the results happen,” Campbell said.
Kjolhede and Boden won handily with an 8-1 final score. Faller and Elliot won by the same margin.
Not everyone had it easy, however. Junior Mary Catherine Faller and sophomore Kayle Sexton won 9-8 (8-6) to complete the doubles sweep.
The singles matches were even more suspenseful, with two flights going to tiebreakers to determine a victor.
Mary Catherine Faller won her first set 6-2, but won only one game in the second set to force a tiebreaker. Faller took the tiebreaker to win 6-2, 1-6 (10-6) at No. 1 singles.
Margaret Faller’s match also went to the tiebreaker. Faller won the first set 6-3 before dropping the second set 5-7. Faller won the tiebreaker for a 6-3, 5-7, 1-0 (11-9) victory at No. 4 singles.
Campbell said he saw an intense level of determination under pressure from both Fallers.
“They both fight to the end, and I think have a heightened focus when they need it to pull out the match and hit the shots that are required,” Campbell said.
The other singles flights cruised to victory. Sexton dropped only two games en route to a 6-0, 6-2 victory over freshman Marcilynn Rowan at No. 2 singles. Elliot defeated senior Kristen Kress 6-1, 6-2 at No. 3 singles, and Kjolhede and sophomore Katie Nickol added victories at No. 5 and No. 6 singles to round out the Belles’ nine match wins.
Everyone contributed to the victory and Saint Mary’s (6-4, 2-0 MIAA) improved to 6-4. After a rough 0-2 start, Saint Mary’s has improved, largely behind the efforts of Mary Catherine Faller.
Faller was a co-captain in 2012 as a sophomore and has continued her role as a leader this season at No. 1 doubles and singles. She and Boden are the Belles’ most experienced players as the only returning juniors on a team comprised of mostly sophomores.
The Belles have the same record through 10 games as they had last season, although they have performed better in conference matches so far this year. Saint Mary’s is currently on a four meet winning streak, including back-to-back 9-0 triumphs over Olivet on Thursday and Judson (3-7, 1-1 CCAC) on Friday. The Eagles were also coming off a 9-0 thumping of Roosevelt University on Wednesday, but the Belles halted that momentum for another impressive victory of their own. According to Campbell, the victory should benefit team morale.
“It builds everyone’s confidence to get these wins,” Campbell said.
Saint Mary’s will try to extend its winning streak Wednesday in a home meet against Albion at 4 p.m.
Contact Samantha Zuba at [email protected]