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Thursday, May 23, 2024
The Observer

Belles cruise to win over Pilots, fall in MIAA match with Knights

Saint Mary’s split its two matches at the end of last week, sweeping Bethel on Thursday, 9-0, before falling to conference foe Calvin on Saturday, 7-2.

The Belles (11-5, 2-2 MIAA) began the two-match stretch with a win over the Pilots (9-10, 1-7 Crossroads), which extended their winning streak at that time to three. The Belles won all nine points in the match and were led by senior co-captain Andrea Fetters. Fetters was victorious in a hard-fought match on court No. 1 in the singles play, winning in a match that went the distance and featured two tiebreaks, 6-7 (6-8), 6-4, 1-0 (10-4). Belles head coach Dale Campbell said he was very pleased with Fetters’ performance, especially in a three-set match.

“You are always playing your opponent’s best player at No. 1, and none of those matches are easy,” Campbell said. “So for her to fight to win, even after we had secured the team win, shows her heart and competitive spirit.”

Fetters was paired with junior Kaity Venters on court No. 3 in doubles play and the duo took their match, 8-4. In the singles action, Venters lost only one game in her 6-1, 6-0 win on court No. 6. Junior Sam Setterblad won in straight sets on court No. 2, 6-2, 6-4, after joining freshman Monica Davy on court No. 1 in doubles and topping the duo from Bethel, 9-8 (7-5).

Senior Margaret Faller and sophomore Maddie Minaudo were both victorious in their singles matches, winning 6-2, 6-2 on court No. 3 and 6-3, 6-0 on court No. 4, respectively. The two then teamed up on court No. 2 in doubles action and pulled out an 8-6 win. Finishing off the sweep for the Belles was freshman Elizabeth Preister in singles play on court No. 5, where she captured a 6-1, 6-3 victory.

“We did a nice job of coming ready to play,” Campbell said. “We won most of our close ones, and our team got off to a good start in doubles.”

The Belles returned to action two days later, traveling to take on the Knights (10-5, 3-2 MIAA). Saint Mary's top performer in the defeat was Davy, who won in straight sets, 6-2, 6-0, on court No. 2 in singles play.

“Monica has been a strong contributor to our team,” Campbell said of Davy. “The win against Calvin was against a veteran player, and I don’t think that mattered to Monica. She brings a passion to play well and determination to win. She will continue to motivate our team through her play, and she has a very bright future. Her record at No. 2 as a first-year player is excellent.”

The Belles’ only other winner against the Knights was Minaudo, who pulled out a three-set win in singles on court No. 5, 6-3, 6-7 (2-7), 1-0 (10-1). Fetters fell on court No. 1, 6-4, 6-0, while Setterblad could not pull out a three-set victory on court No. 3, falling 4-6, 6-0, 1-0 (10-2). On court No. 4, Faller was defeated 6-0, 6-1, and Priester lost 6-4, 6-4 on court No. 6 to round out the singles action.

In the doubles play, Davy and Setterblad lost 8-4 on court No. 1, while Minaudo and Faller fought to a tiebreaker in their match but lost, 9-8 (7-3), on court No. 2. Venters and Fetters were defeated, 8-5, on court No. 3, which rounded out Calvin's 7-2 victory.

“In this match, it wasn’t as much about the close matches as it was missed opportunities,” Campbell said. “The matches were close, but we didn’t play aggressive enough in doubles. We let the action come to us instead of taking the action to our opponents. We didn’t finish at the net or move to take enough volleys.”

Campbell said he is excited for Saint Mary's to make up for its missed opportunities against Calvin in its next match, which is set to take place Wednesday when it hits the road to square off with Adrian.

“We have to execute our doubles plays better,” Campbell said. “We must get more aggressive. We have to be fully engaged to seize every opportunity at the net.”

Wednesday's match between the Belles and the Bulldogs (8-8, 2-2 MIAA) is set to start at 4 p.m. at Craft Tennis Complex.