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SMC Tennis

Saint Mary’s heads into crucial conference match

| Thursday, April 16, 2015

With the regular season nearing its end, Saint Mary’s plays its penultimate conference match of the season Saturday when it travels to Albion.

The Belles (10-8, 4-2 MIAA) are coming off a dominating 8-1 home victory over Adrian on Tuesday.

Belles head coach Dale Campbell said he liked what he saw in the win, especially his team’s efforts at doubles.

“I think winning all the doubles matches set a nice tone,” Campbell said. “And we played some really efficient singles.”

Senior Kayle Sexton and sophomore Sam Setterblad helped spark the Belles on Tuesday with an 8-2 victory at No. 1 doubles, before Sexton later swept her match at No. 2 singles 6-0, 6-0. For a team whose focus all season long has been bettering its doubles play, Campbell said his doubles pairings continue to get better as the season progresses.

“I do think the doubles pairings get better every time they play together,” Campbell said. “They are communicating better.”

One focus for the Belles this weekend against the Britons (3-6, 1-3) will be controlling the pace of the match; the Belles needed just two hours to win their last game, but Campbell said his team needs to make sure they do not play too quickly.

“Some days we make more errors because we are rushing, or we try to [play the] offensive out of a poor position,” Campbell said. “If we work for the right position and balance and make sure we are in that position, we can then control our offensive shots.”

With just two league games left in its regular season, Saint Mary’s controls its MIAA tournament destiny — the Belles currently sit third in the standings, and only the top four schools make the tournament.

But Campbell said the Belles could not look ahead and needed to focus on the contest in front of them.

“[First] we need a victory over Albion to get to the conference tournament,” said Campbell. “Our total focus [is] on preparing for Saturday.”

Saint Mary’s heads to Albion, Michigan for another conference game Saturday, with the first serve going up at 1 p.m.

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