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ISSUE 118 VOL 16 PUBLISHED 4/15/2005

Women's tennis dominates en route to victory

By Joel Stjernholm
Sports Editor

Friday, April 15, 2005

Coming back from a difficult loss to St. Kate’s April 4, the St. Olaf women’s tennis team thoroughly defeated Bethel 8-1 Saturday afternoon in Arden Hills, Minn. The victory marks the women’s fifth win in their last six competitions.

The women swept the Royals in doubles competition, with Beth Erie ‘05 and Kristen Buchta ‘05 winning the first match, Lauren Benson ‘06 and Emily Eggert ‘06 winning the number two match and Jorie Steffen ‘07 and Sarah Pray ’07 winning the number three match. Erie, Buchta, Benson, Eggert and Steffen also won the number one, two, three four and six singles matches, respectively. Pray nearly defeated Bethel’s Cindy Ask in the number five singles match, but lost narrowly, 10-7, in a tiebreaker.

The victory lifts St. Olaf to a 4-3 conference mark and a 7-4 overall record, good for fifth place in MIAC standings. The Oles currently trail Carleton, St. Ben’s, St. Thomas and St. Kate’s in conference play (the four teams combined produce 14 conference records, 19 wins and only three losses), but have one more conference win than the national powerhouse Gusties.

Though Gustavus will probably move ahead of the Oles as they play more conference matches, St. Olaf will have an opportunity to defend their position, rounding out the regular season with matches against St. Ben’s, Carleton and Macalester.

The women will encounter several opportunities to upset higher-ranked opponents at the upcoming conference tournament. The Oles have played several strong MIAC teams evenly this season, including a 5-4 loss to St. Thomas and a deceptively substantial 7-2 loss to St. Kate’s.

Several Ole tennis players expressed disappointment after their match against the Tommies, believing they could have won the match and vowed to even the score if their teams meet in postseason play. Considering their strong work ethic and practices emphasizing game scenarios, the Oles should be at their best in tournament play.

Despite the excitement surrounding tournament speculation, the team remains focused on the remainder of their regular season. Though the Oles should defeat Macalester (the Scots are 2-4 in conference play, 4-8 overall), St. Ben’s and Carleton both rank above the Oles in MIAC standings and have proven worthy regular season foes.

However, given St. Olaf’s penchant for competing well against top teams, neither team can afford to take the Oles for granted.

The Oles play their next match Tuesday against Carleton at home. The match will begin at 4 p.m.

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