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ISSUE 118 VOL 19 PUBLISHED 5/6/2005

Women finish sixth

By Joel Stjernholm
Sports Editor

Friday, May 6, 2005

The St. Olaf women’s tennis team entered the MIAC conference championships with confidence last Saturday, having defeated Macalester 8-1 after narrowly losing to Carleton the previous weekend. Though they were unable to achieve any major upsets, the team matched their tournament seed with a sixth place finish.

In their first match Friday against Concordia, the Oles had no trouble with the Cobbers, defeating them 9-0. The match was never in doubt, and the decisive first-round victory solidified the Oles’ position as possible contenders.

The women met rival St. Thomas in the second round, hoping to upset the Tommies after losing to them 5-4 in regular season play. However, the Tommies held off the Oles, winning the match 7-2. Kristen Buchta ’05 won the number two singles match, and teamed up with Beth Erie ’05 to win the number one doubles match as well.

Despite falling to St. Thomas, the Oles came back strong against St. Mary’s. St. Olaf’s strong doubles play and consistent singles play proved to be too much for the Cardinals, as St. Olaf earned a 6-3, third-round victory. The win allowed St. Olaf to advance to the fifth place game and gave the team a chance to upset fifth-ranked St. Kate’s.

The Oles went out strong, winning the top three singles matches as well as the top doubles match, but fell short of victory as the Wildcats edged the Oles 5-4 in the final tournament match.

The Oles played exceptionally well in the regular season as well as in the conference tournament, as evidenced by their strong finish at season’s end. MIAC competition was exceedingly strong this year; the top three MIAC finishers – Gustavus, Carleton and St. Thomas – finished with a combined overall record of 64-10. The Gusties dominated the MIAC tournament, winning the conference title for the 14th consecutive year and affirming their status as a national powerhouse.

In addition to their success in MIAC competition, two Oles were named to the All-MIAC tennis team. Erie and Buchta were given all-MIAC honors, with Buchta receiving honors for both singles and doubles play. In addition to their tangible contributions to the team’s success, Erie and Buchta have provided strong senior leadership to a relatively young tennis squad.

Though the Oles will have a number of returning players next season, they will also lose several top players to graduation. Erie, Buchta, Carrie Wiersma ‘05, Michelle Wiersma ‘05 and Libby Douglas ‘05 will all graduate this spring, leaving returning and incoming Oles to pick up where they left off.

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