WITH yet another successful pennant season under its belt, St Michaels entered the Central Wimmera Tennis Association finals with renewed optimism and confidence.
The Saints fell short of Drung South in Saturday's semi-final, adding a fresh loss to their growing list of finals defeats in recent years.
One of the few positives the Saints can take out of their nine-sets-to-five defeat is that it came in a non-elimination game.
St Michaels will look to turn its finals fortunes around when it meets Kalkee in tomorrow's preliminary final.
It looks like an easy match-up for the Saints on paper, with the team already having recorded three resounding wins over the Kees this season.
St Michaels flattened Kalkee in their first meeting this season, winning 13-sets-to-one.
Kalkee fared better in the second meeting between the teams, losing 9-112 to 5-82, but was again dominated in the final round of the season to lose 12-119 to 2-70.
Kalkee player Steve Schultz warned this meeting would not be so easy for the Saints however, indicating his side was prepared to fight for the last grand final spot.
"We feel like on our day we probably could win a few sets that we didn't in the past," he said.
"I think we're more evenly-matched than what the scores throughout the year have shown.
"We know if we have a good week, we'll definitely get a lot closer than what we have."
Schultz said the Kees had yet to field a full-strength side, and could surprise the Saints with their aggressive game style.
He said the consistency of the St Michaels women was its strength but Kalkee's youth could overcome their finals' experience.
"They're pretty experienced and they've all been playing together for quite a while so they're a bit more settled than what we are with the changes to our side," Schultz said.
"We've got a few younger guys in our side that will hopefully do well on the day and I think we can be okay."