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SMC Tennis: Loss ends tournament hopes

Samantha Zuba | Monday, April 29, 2013


The finale didn’t quite demand a curtain call. The Belles fell to Kalamazoo 7-2 on Saturday in their final regular-season match to drop into a tie for fourth place in the conference with Calvin. 

The top four squads make the conference tournament, but Saint Mary’s (10-8, 4-4 MIAA) came out on the losing end of the tiebreaker with Calvin and will not participate in the MIAA tournament.

A win Saturday would have earned Saint Mary’s the final tournament spot outright. The winner of the conference tournament automatically qualifies for the NCAA tournament. The Belles last appeared in the MIAA tournament in 2008. Calvin narrowly beat Saint Mary’s, 5-4, on Wednesday to earn the head-to-head tiebreaker. 

Belles coach Dale Campbell praised his team’s effort against Kalamazoo (12-7, 7-1 MIAA), especially since the Belles were coming off the heartbreaking loss to Calvin.

“We played with heart despite the fact we had a tough loss with Calvin,” Campbell said.

Saturday’s victories came at No. 5 singles and No. 2 doubles. Sophomore Jackie Kjolhede won 6-2, 6-3. Sophomores Shannon Elliott and Audrey Kiefer supplied the 8-4 doubles victory. Kiefer nearly secured a third point for Saint Mary’s at No. 4 singles, but ended up falling narrowly 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 10-6.

Campbell said doubles play was not aggressive enough for the Belles to win. Campbell said he hopes Saint Mary’s will be able to take the lessons from the loss into next season.

“We are still not aggressive enough at net in doubles, and we don’t play with enough energy at times,” Campbell said. “We will start over and try to improve.”

Despite the loss, Campbell said he wanted to keep a positive perspective during his postgame comments to his team.

“I just told them they gave it all they had, and that is all you can do,” Campbell said. “I think you have to look at the positives and analyze what you can do going into the next season.”

Contact Samantha Zuba at [email protected]