Belles Compete at ITA Regional Championship Event

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. - The Saint Mary's tennis team kicked off the fall portion of their season on Friday at the ITA Central Region Championships hosted by Kalamazoo College.

The doubles pairing of Kaity Venters and Kelsey Kopf had a tough draw to open the tournament as the duo faced off against top-seeded Nancy Benda and Carli Capestany from Hope. Venters and Kopf fell in the opening match, 8-0, to the Hope duo who competed in the 2014 NCAA Division III tennis tournament. With a quick turnaround for their next match, Venters and Kopf ended their stint in the tournament with an 8-3 loss to Otterbein's Sammi Kruger and Rylie Markle.

Sam Setterblad and Maddie Minaudo also had to take on a seeded pair in their opening doubles match. Setterblad and Minaudo fell short of knocking off 13th seeded Meg Chiumento and Rochell Issa from Denison. In the backdraw bracket, the pair won an 8-5 match against Millikin's Paige Bequette and Molly Angell.

With the win and a bye in the next round of the backdraw bracket, the pair will compete tomorrow, September 20 in a 3:00 p.m. match against Kenyon's Jenna Murray and Grace Winslow.

All four of the Belles' singles players won their opening round matches before falling in the round of 64. Jackie Kjolhede was a 6-2, 6-0 winner over Illinois Wesleyan's Randi Wilson in the first round. Kjolhede then faced tough competition in ninth-seeded Nithya Kanagasegar from Case Western, who won 6-0, 6-0 to end Kjolhede's run in the tournament. Kayle Sexton, likewise, earned a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Wooster's Morgan Wagers. The senior also squared off against a seeded opponent in the second round as 25th-seeded Sara Zargham also from Case Western won 6-1, 6-0.

Andrea Fetters earned a 6-2, 6-1 win against Wittenberg's Claudia Fenzi in the opening round of play on Friday. The junior, however, lost a 6-2, 6-0 match to ninth-seeded Taylor Mahr from DePauw. Margaret Faller was a decisive 6-0, 6-0 winner against Wittenberg's Jade Brown. Faller came up on the wrong side of a 6-2, 6-1 final against Oberlin's Grace Porter, who was also seeded ninth.

The ITA Central Region Championships are held Friday through Monday, September 22.