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SMC Tennis

Saint Mary’s splits homestand over the weekend

| Monday, April 11, 2016

Saint Mary’s suffered its first conference loss of the season Saturday against Hope, falling in each of its matches for a final score of 9-0. 

The No. 3 doubles match was the most closely-contested match of the day for the Belles (9-5, 1-1 MIAA), as senior Andrea Fetters and junior Kaity Venters lost in a tiebreak, 9-8 (7-4). Sophomore Maddie Minaudo nearly pulled off a win at No. 5 singles, as she also came up just short in a second set tiebreak in a 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) defeat.

The Flying Dutch (8-4, 2-0) are the five-time defending conference regular season and tournament champions, so winning matches against Hope is no easy task, Belles head coach Dale Campbell said.

We were really close at No. 3 doubles and also really close at No. 5 singles with Maddie Minaudo,” Campbell said. “I definitely take those as positives. This is probably the strongest team in our conference, so we have to keep that in perspective. Even in a loss, we are battling better, point by point.”

Fetters, a second-team All-MIAA performer and co-captain, also competed at No. 1 singles, but lost 6-2, 6-2. At No. 2 singles, freshman Monica Davy fell in straight sets, losing 6-3, 6-2. Junior Sam Setterblad and Venters were both defeated at No. 3 and No. 6 singles, respectively, by a score of 6-1, 6-0. Senior co-captain Margaret Faller also lost at No. 4 singles, falling by a score of 6-3, 6-1.

The No. 1 doubles team of Setterblad and Davy fell 8-1, while Minaudo and Faller were defeated 8-4 at No. 2 doubles.

The Belles are less than a month away from the conference tournament, and Campbell said he realizes the team has to improve in certain areas.

“We have to make less mistakes on our volleys,” he said. “We had some opportunities at net, and didn’t convert. However, we still need to work more on our serves and return of serves, as those are the two most important shots.”

Saint Mary’s got a chance to rebound from this defeat when North Central came to take on the Belles at South Bend Racquet Club. The Cardinals (11-6, 4-3 CCIW) had won six consecutive matches and haven’t lost more than three points during their streak. Campbell said his team was ready for the challenge and the chance to break even for the weekend prior to the match.

“We will just have to talk about how it will be a new day and a completely different opponent,” he said. “This is a non-conference match, and more important that we just take one match at a time, and continue to improve.”

The Belles had yet to lose consecutive matches on the season, as they are 3-0 following defeats coming into the match, and they continued this trend, defeating the Cardinals decisively, 8-1.

Fetters led the charge for the Belles, winning at No. 1 singles in a 3-set match, 6-3, 1-6, 1-0 (10-8), and teaming up with Venters at No. 3 doubles, where they won 9-7. Davy won a first set tiebreak and rolled in the second set on her way to a 7-6 (8-6), 6-3 win at No. 2 singles. Faller won at No. 4 singles in straight sets, 6-2, 6-3, while Minaudo only lost 2 games in her match at No. 5 singles, winning 6-1, 6-1. Freshman Elizabeth Preister won her first match of the weekend, 6-1, 7-5, at No. 6 singles. Setterblad dropped the only point for the Belles in the match, falling 6-1, 6-2 at No. 3 singles.

Davy and Setterblad defeated the No. 1 doubles team of North Central by a score of 8-6, while Faller and Minaudo capped off the doubles sweep with an 8-3 victory at No. 2. doubles.

Following the meet against North Central, Saint Mary’s will travel to Angola, Indiana, to take on the Trine on Tuesday in the Belles’ third conference match of the season. The Thunder (3-8, 0-2 MIAA) are coming off back-to-back 8-1 defeats at the hands of conference foes Adrian and Albion.

The Belles and Thunder will face off at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Keith E. Busse/Steel Dynamics Athletic and Recreation Center.

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