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SMC Tennis

Belles struggle in doubles, drop decision to Aquinas

| Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Saint Mary’s dropped its second consecutive match, falling to Aquinas by a 6-3 decision Saturday.

For the second straight match, the Belles (1-2) failed to pick up a victory in the three doubles matches, giving the Saints (2-0) the early advantage.

Senior co-captain Mary Catherine Faller and junior Kayle Sexton dropped the No. 1 doubles match, 8-6, while juniors Shannon Elliott and co-captain Audrey Kiefer also dropped their doubles match — at the No. 2 flight — by a break.

“They served a bit better than us and [our opponents] are still volleying slightly better,” Belles coach Dale Campbell said. “We have to be more consistent in all phases of our doubles games. [Aquinas] was strong in doubles, but with these close matches, I know we have the ability to pull them out.”

Ultimately, it was those two top doubles matches that proved to be the difference Saturday, as Saint Mary’s and Aquinas would go on to split the singles matches. The Belles got their first victory of the evening at the No. 2 singles spot when Sexton dismissed her opponent, Saints freshman Tiffany Tuori, in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3.

“I think [Sexton] is growing in her ability to play singles at the No. 2 position,” Campbell said. “When she moves her feet well, she can play some outstanding singles. She explodes into her shots when she is moving well.”

The Belles were then able to get a victory at the No. 6 singles spot for the second week running when sophomore Andrea Fetters dispatched her opponent, Saints sophomore Jennelle Miller, 6-2, 6-4.

“[Fetter’s consecutive wins at No. 6 singles] just shows depth in our lineup,” Campbell said. “Andrea’s fight in those matches can only help to give our team confidence. I think we know you can have a battle in all positions and you never know where the victories will come from.”

The third and final win of the day for Saint Mary’s came in three sets when Elliott racked up her first victory of the spring season, defeating Aquinas junior Ariana Kabodian, 6-2, 1-6, 6-4.

“[Elliott] battles well and took some pride in winning her match in the third set,” Campbell said. “Her opponent was a great runner, but Shannon controlled her and made her move all over the court. Her shot-making eventually wore down her opponent. It was nice for her to finish the match with a win as she was the last one on the court.”

The Belles return to action March 9 when they travel to Orlando, Fla., to kick off a five-match trip with contests against Cornell College.

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About Alex Carson

Alex Carson graduated from Notre Dame in 2017 after majoring in Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics and living in O’Neill Hall. Hailing from the Indianapolis area, but born in Youngstown, Ohio, Carson is a Cleveland sports fan convinced that he’s already lived the “best day of his life.” At The Observer, Carson was first a Sports Writer, then served as an Associate Sports Editor (2015/16) and an Assistant Managing Editor (2016/17), before finishing his tenure as a Senior Sports Writer. A man of strong convictions, he ardently believes that Carly Rae Jepsen's 2015 release E•MO•TION is the greatest album of his generation, and wakes up early on Saturday mornings to listen, or occasionally watch, his favorite least-favorite sports team, Aston Villa. When he isn’t writing, Carson spends his time counting down the days to the next running of the Indianapolis 500 and reminding people that the Victory March starts with the lyric, “Rally sons of Notre Dame,” not “Cheer, cheer for Old Notre Dame.”

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