SMC tennis beats Trine on the road
Thomas Zwiller | Thursday, April 13, 2023
After 7-2 losses against Hope College and Kalamazoo, Belles tennis needed a big win over Trine University to get back on track in the MIAA.
The last time the Belles played in Angola, Indiana, they came up short in a narrow 5-4 loss. That match saw the third doubles match go to extra sets, where Trine won 8-6. The Belles also forced two of the singles matches into third sets. Ultimately, the team came up short.
This time, however, the Belles earned a 5-4 victory in a pivotal matchup to reach third in the conference standings.
A significant difference in this year’s matchup was the doubles match. In the first match, sophomore Alayna Campbell and freshman Emma Kealy got the 8-4 win, defeating Trine’s top pair. Senior Lucy Chamberlin and freshman Leah Hosang fell by the same score in the second match.
The difference-maker turned out to be the third match, where senior Kathleen McLeod and freshman Evelyn Demblans-Dechans earned a dominant 8-2 win, giving the Belles a 2-1 lead over the Thunder.
A retirement by Chamberlin in her singles match allowed Trine to even the score at two all. Shortly after Chamberlin retired, Demblans-Dechans won both her matches 6-1, finishing quickly for the fastest singles competition of the match.
Next came Campbell’s victory in the second singles match, where she won both sets 6-3 to give the Belles a commanding 4-2 lead over Trine.
However, Trine made it interesting as Hosang fell 6-2 in consecutive matches. The only two remaining competitions were McLeod’s match, which had gone to a third set, and Kealy’s, which appeared as if it could very well go the distance.
McLeod, who had won her first set 6-2, was swept by her opponent in the next. In the third and final set, McLeod fought hard, falling behind early but rallying back to get a 3-2 lead. After that, McLeod enjoyed a 3-1 run, winning her set, her match and clinching the overall win for the Belles.
Because the Belles had clinched the match already, Kealy’s match, where she led 5-4 down a set, did not finish.
The team improved to a 4-2 record in MIAA play while getting its 14th win of the season. It was also the Belles’ first win in Angola since 2018.
Trine, meanwhile, fell to 2-2 in MIAA play and moved to fifth in the conference standings.
The next challenge for the tennis squad will be a non-conference matchup at Bethel. In program history, the Belles are 11-2 against the Pilots, though the latter has had the upper hand in the last two contests, winning 5-4 and 7-2. The last time Saint Mary’s beat Bethel was in 2018 (8-1).
The match is slated for a 3 p.m. start at Ward Baker Park this Friday.