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SMC Tennis

Belles silenced by Indiana Wesleyan, will face Olivet on Saturday

| Thursday, March 26, 2015

Saint Mary’s dropped a 9-0 home decision to NAIA-foe No. 14 Indiana Wesleyan on Wednesday.

While the Wildcats (15-3, 7-1 Crossroads) took every possible set in the match, the Belles (6-7, 1-1 MIAA) got a strong performance out of junior Andrea Fetters, who hung with Wildcats junior Katie Wilson at No. 1 singles; Fetters lost 7-5, 6-3 to the 10th-ranked player in NAIA. On the doubles side, junior Margaret Faller and freshman Maddie Minaudo lost 8-5 at No. 3 doubles, which was the closest result for the Belles in the doubles flights.

The Belles head straight back to action Saturday in Battle Creek, Michigan, when they take on struggling Olivet in a return to conference play.

The Comets (2-11, 0-2 MIAA) are losers of six straight and have not come away with a win since Feb. 28 against Concordia.

Heading into the Belles’ return to conference play, head coach Dale Campbell said senior leadership will play an integral role to the Belles’ performance Saturday.

“I think it is significant when your leaders show great effort and determination,” Campbell said.

Leadership for the Belles has most recently come from senior captain Jackie Kjolhede. Kjolhede — who won 6-0, 6-0 in her match against Alma this past weekend — was honored as the Saint Mary’s Student Athlete of the Week following the team victory.

Campbell said singles play will be a key in the matchup against Olivet. The Comets have not been able to find their stroke in the singles game recently, dropping five of six matches in a recent loss to Adrian. Campbell said ability and grit in singles matches is a quality the top teams have.

“That toughness in singles play … is one of the qualities of great teams,” Campbell said.

Campbell said he also sees the doubles matches as an area to improve and feels as though his team has a diverse skill set that can help them grab victories.

“Each player has different things to offer [the] team,” Campbell said. “So we are just trying to see if that can equate overall to more doubles wins.”

While the Belles play a struggling opponent Saturday, Campbell said his team has to put in their best effort no matter what.

“We want to play the best we can, no matter how the opponent is doing,” Campbell said.

The Belles look to get ahead of .500 in conference play Saturday when they head to Battle Creek, Michigan, to take on Olivet. First serves are slated for 1 p.m.

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