WOMEN'S TENNIS: Saint Mary's look for easy win over Bethel College
By KATIE MCVOY
Associate Sports Editor
It will be a battle of the Benders today as the Belles of Saint Mary's take on the Pirates of Bethel College in tennis at Bethel.
"We're not expecting it to be too hard," freshman Kris Spriggle said. "It's gonna be a good practice to get us ready for the conference tournament."
The Belles, who recently clinched first place in the MIAA, are coming off a 2-1 weekend effort. The Belles first defeated Kalamazoo College to up their conference record to 6-0. On Saturday, they defeated Wheaton College 6-3, but fell to DePauw 6-3.
Kalamazoo proved to be an easy victory. The Belles took the match 9-0 and added two exposition matches for good measure. The Hornets won only 16 points while the Belles won 108.
Annie Knish, Natalie Cook and Jeannie Knish led off the singles victories, defeating their opponents in two sets. Annie Knish took her match 6-0, 6-0, Cook followed 6-2, 6-2, and Jeannie Knish wrapped up the top three with a 6-1, 6-0 victory.
Joining Cook and the Knishes were freshmen Kaitlin Cutler (6-0, 6-0), and sophomores Elisa Ryan (6-1, 6-1) and Angie Sandner (6-1, 6-3).
The doubles teams wrapped up the nine points. Knish and Cook won No. 1 doubles 6-1, 6-0. Knish gave up the only point she lost during the match. Knish and Cutler won in two sets (6-0, 6-0) and Ryan and Trisha Jones took No. 3 doubles 6-1, 6-1.
The Belles were coming off of a tough Saturday line-up that included the Thunder of Wheaton College and the Tigers of DePauw.
The Belles faced the Tigers earlier in April at the Midwest Invitational and lost 8-1. Although they were not expecting a victory this time around, they were looking for revenge.
"We all wanted to show them that we could play them better," Spriggle said. "Some of them weren't all that nice when we played them."
The Belles came away with better results this time, claiming three matches against the Tigers. Jeannie Knish, Cutler and Ryan all claimed singles victories. Jeannie Knish took No. 3 singles after dropping an initial tiebreaker and losing the first set. She came back and took the second two sets 6-3, 6-2. Cutler took her match in three sets, winning the third set in a 7-2 tiebreaker. Ryan took an easy two set win, defeating her opponent 6-4, 6-1.
After splitting singles, Saint Mary's was in good position to claim a victory. In the past, the Belles doubles teams have been instrumental in finishing off some needed victories. However, they couldn't pull it out this time. All three doubles teams lost.
"I think it was a tiring day," Spriggle said. "We were all playing really well, but the other team just pulled through instead of us."
However, Saturday was not a disappointment. The Saint Mary's victory against Wheaton College was an unexpected and pleasant surprise.
"We were all so surprised that we won," Spriggle said. "We lost to them last year. They had a reputation of being a better school. We went in there with nothing to lose making the best of each point."
The Belles did make the best of each point. They took three of six singles matches and the doubles teams came through, winning all three matches to secure a 6-3 victory.
The Knish sisters, along with Cutler, took the wins in singles. Annie Knish claimed her match 6-4, 6-4. Jeannie added a No. 3 singles victory, bringing home another close three set win. Cutler added the final singles point at No. 4, winning 6-2, 6-2.
Knish and Cook took No. 1 doubles 8-2. Knish and Cutler took No. 2 doubles 8-2 and Ryan and Jones wrapped up the match with an 8-4 win.
Action today gets under way at 3 p.m. at Bethel.
All Sports Stories for Tuesday, April 24, 2001