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ISSUE 119 VOL 15 PUBLISHED 3/24/2006

Tennis ‘cobbles’ together victory

By Matt Tiano
Sports Editor

Friday, March 24, 2006

Expectations were tepid for the women'’s tennis campaign in 2006, as the team lost nearly half its athletes from a season ago to graduation.

However, the Ole women have risen above .500 with their latest victory over the Cobbers of Concordia-Moorhead, and thus far, have surprised onlookers.

Most impressive is the 6-3 victory on Saturday that was completed in the absence of no. 2 singles player Kristina Poplavska ’'09, who has been plagued by an ankle injury. Poplavska has been off the court for two weeks, but fortunately, will return for practice over Spring Break.

The women have fared impressively despite the number of players available to compete.

“"We are only carrying eight this year,”" head coach Scott Nesbit said. “"With Kristina Poplavska being out these past two weeks with an ankle injury, in actuality we have been only seven players deep."

Due to the injury situation, Nesbit was forced to adjust his normally routine lineup. Diana Baetscher ‘'09 and Elizabeth Greener ‘'07 formed a tandem at no. 3 doubles and won handily 8-2. On the singles side, Krista Germeroth ‘'07 filled in at no. 6 six singles and competed well, but fell short 6-2, 6-3.

“"Situations like an injury are obviously unfortunate,"” Nesbit said. “"However, they also provide a silver lining which gives other people a chance to shine. Krista [Germeroth] has done a fantastic job."

Emily Eggert ’'06 once again provided quality play at no. 1 singles, claiming a tight three-set match with Annie Styba of Concordia 6-4, 2-6, 11-9. The Oles also received victories at no. 3, 4 and 5 singles from Sarah Pray ‘07, Baetscher and Ellen Goerss '‘09, respectively. No. 2 and 3 doubles also went in the Oles'’ favor.

The Oles sit 4-3 overall and 3-2 in a tough MIAC, and Nesbit pointed to determination as the deciding factor.

“"Every person has played a major role in the team'’s 4-3 record,"” Nesbit said. “"At Concordia, it was another great team effort of the players working hard and playing their hearts out."”

However, Nesbit did not hesitate to point out that there is always room for improvement.

“"The coaching staff feels really good about the improvement the players have made in their games, but also realize we have plenty of things to keep working on in terms of development,"” he said.

The Oles remain idle over Spring Break, as Nesbit will be in Arizona coaching the men'’s squad.

The next competition for the Oles will come April 7 in a dual match against St. Thomas in Minneapolis.

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