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SMC Tennis

Saint Mary’s says farewell to lone senior after interrupted season

| Friday, May 15, 2020

The Saint Mary’s tennis team, like so many other teams across so many other sports across the world, saw its season come to an abrupt and premature end due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Their season began in September with preliminary matches at the Hope College Invitational in Holland, Michigan. The Belles saw players compete in both the A and B divisions over the two-day event.

Junior Megan Davy and sophomore Alyssa Gulli each collected two singles wins, while freshman Lucy Chamberlin had one in the A division. Gulli and Davy also partnered to win three of four matches in the A doubles. Junior Nicole Becker and freshman Kathleen McLeod earned two singles victories apiece, with freshman Annika Smith picking up one in the B division.

In the B division, three Belles pairings — Smith with fellow freshman Trinity Marshall, Chamberlin with Becker and McLeod with senior Lily Brandt — combined to win eight of 12 doubles matches.

Following the cancellation of the Holy Cross Tournament, their next meet was at the Hillsdale Tournament, which provided their last fall competition. Head coach Dale Campbell said that, coming into the season, his team had high hopes in anticipation of spring conference play.

Courtesy of Sarah Miesle
Saint Mary’s tennis classmates pose for a photo from left to right in the top row: freshman classmates Kathleen McLeod, Annika Smith and Kalyn Borger, and left to right in the bottom row: freshman Lucy Chamberlin, senior Lily Brandt and freshman Trinity Marshall.

“Our expectation was to be one of the top two teams in the [Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association],” Campbell said. “We wanted to do well in our conference play and make it to the MIAA conference championships.”

After kicking off their spring slate with a competitive 4-3 loss to Aquinas, the Belles rattled off five-straight wins over Spring Arbor, St. Francis (Indiana), St. Scholastica, Illinois Wesleyan and Franciscan, none by a closer margin than 6-3. For her performance in the last two games of that stretch, Davy was named the MIAA Women’s Tennis Athlete of the Week for the stretch of March 9 to March 15.

Despite a shutout loss to Wheaton to end their five-game run, there was promise heading into the final 13 regular season contests, according to Campbell.

“The bond on our team was strong, and we were improving,” he said. “Our top junior, Megan Davy, was off to an outstanding start at No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles. Her record was 14-6 overall and she was certainly leading the team.”

Unfortunately, that promise would not come to fruition as the remainder of the year was canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic, a reality that was difficult for the team to accept.

“Finding out that the season was over was tough, especially for upperclassmen, as we were just getting ready to play the bulk of our matches,” Campbell said. “I think it took a while for it all to sink in, but I think everyone realized that all others across the country were dealing with this issue and more. Hopefully, something like this does not happen for a long, long time.”

Campbell also discussed what his one-woman senior class has meant to the program.

“Our lone senior, Lily Brandt, was a captain, and she was steering the team down such a positive path,” he said. “She had given the team what they needed to succeed. Her and co-captain Megan Davy had led the team to be unselfish and to be focused toward the team goals.”

However, even with misfortune, Campbell still took some positivity from the 2020 season.

“This team had a great experience, despite not being able to finish,” he said.

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About Hayden Adams

Hayden is the former sports editor of The Observer. When he's not working toward his four majors (physics and film, television & theatre) and three minors (journalism, ethics & democracy), you can probably find him hopelessly trying to save his beloved Zahm House from being wiped out. He plans to attend law school at a TBD location after graduation.

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