SMC Tennis: Juniors lead Belles to victory over St. Francis
Samantha Zuba | Wednesday, September 18, 2013
The Belles won four of six singles flights and two of three doubles flights to defeat St. Francis 6-3 in their first fall contest Saturday at home.
Saint Mary’s (1-0, 0-0 MIAA) won four single flights by comfortable margins, including a win by forfeit at No. 6 singles for sophomore Andrea Fetters. The Belles singles winners dropped only seven games against the Cougars (2-7, 1-4 Crossroads).
Freshman Hannah Nichols played No. 2 singles in the first match of her collegiate career and turned in a 6-1, 6-1 victory. Nichols proved she could handle the high level of play expected at No. 2 singles, Belles coach Dale Campbell said.
“I think it will help her to know that she can handle this level, for starters,” Campbell said. “She got comfortable in her singles match the further it went.”
Junior Jackie Kjolhede also lost only two games on her way to a 6-2, 6-0 win at No. 4 singles. Kjolhede won several long points, which spurred her to the dominant victory and continued her success from last season.
“She knows how to battle and win long points,” Campbell said. “She had the best singles record last year and does a good job of adapting to the situation.”
Juniors Audrey Kiefer and Shannon Elliott joined Kjolhede in a strong showing for Belles upperclassmen. Kiefer won 6-1, 6-2 at No. 5 singles and partnered with Elliott for an 8-5 victory at No. 2 doubles.
Although it is early in the season, Campbell said he already sees encouraging improvement from his upperclassmen.
“It is early, but I can see maturity in the juniors,” Campbell said. “Having two years of experience, I believe, will show in their games, and they will know how to better prepare for competition.”
Sophomore Margaret Faller and freshman Sam Setterblad rounded out the victory tally for Saint Mary’s with a win by forfeit at No. 3 doubles.
Nichols and junior Kayle Sexton lost at No. 1 doubles, but Campbell said the communication from his doubles pairs encouraged him, especially this early in the season.
“Audrey [Kiefer] and Shannon Elliott did a nice job at No. 2,” Campbell said. “Hannah [Nichols] and Kayle [Sexton] at No. 1 had no previous practice together, as our No. 1 player [senior Mary Catherine Faller] was not able to play on Saturday. They played well together for a first match with little practice. The communication has been great so far with our team.”
Saint Mary’s will host an Alumnae Match on Saturday at 9 a.m. before its last competition of the fall at the MIAA Flighted Tournament on Sept. 27-28 at Hope College.
Contact Samantha Zuba at [email protected]