Although Saint Mary's fell short of a conference title, Belles coach Dale Campbell still views the 2011 campaign as a successful one.
"Overall, we improved, and this was one of our better seasons," he said. "We took some steps forward in doubles, we're closer to the top of conference, but we're not as strong as we want to be."
The Belles (13-8, 5-3 MIAA) concluded their season with a 5-2 loss against ultimate MIAA champion Albion in the conference tournament semifinals. In the quarterfinals, Saint Mary's defeated Calvin for the second time this season, a high point for the squad. Prior to this season, Saint Mary's last defeated the conference foe in 2007.
"Beating Calvin twice this year in close 5-4 decisions was a good finish for our seniors," Campbell said.
Over the last four years, the senior class has compiled an impressive 50-36 record while finishing no lower than fifth in the MIAA.
"[The seniors are a] really fun group and they came together as a team," Campbell said. "They competed hard and their experience helped them succeed. We'll miss them."
The Belles will return freshmen Margaret Boden and Mary Catherine Faller next season, a campaign that could be very bright if the team is able to build upon its 2011 success.
"We have two or three freshmen coming in next year. It'll be sort of a new start," Campbell said. "We have an eager, young group with a strong future."