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ISSUE 119 VOL 16 PUBLISHED 4/14/2006

Women's tennis ends long layoff

By Matt Tiano
Sports Editor

Friday, April 14, 2006

While the men's team was in Arizona under the sun and playing outside, the St. Olaf women's team struggled to find court time as the weather in the Midwest was less than favorable.

Last Friday, the Ole women concluded a long layoff from MIAC competition. The team dropped an 8-1 decision to St. Thomas, and the off time may have contributed to the lopsided nature of the final score.

The Oles' lone win came at no. 1 singles, where Emily Eggert '06 won convincingly against St. Thomas' Cortney Dirks 6-1, 6-1.

A year ago, Eggert found herself in the no. 4 spot as a member of a much more experienced squad. However, she has risen to the occasion in style, and head coach Scott Nesbit has been impressed with the senior's performance.

"Emily has been a very nice surprise for us," Nesbit said. "She has played well every single match for us this year. Moving from four to one has been great for Emily, because she is a great counter-puncher, and excels at using her opponents' pace."

Possessing a .500 record at 4-4, the Oles again traveled to St. Paul Saturday, this time to face Hamline. The women walked away with a 6-3 victory, but the work was not easy.

Three of the six singles matches were decided in three sets, with Hamline claiming two. The lone three-set singles win for the Oles came from Kristina Poplavska '09, recently returning to action from an ankle injury, who rallied down a set to win.

The deciding factor for the Oles was depth in doubles, but again, Hamline made the Oles work. At no. 2, Sarah Pray '08 and Ellen Goerss '09 won 8-5, and at the third spot, Diana Baetscher '09 and Elizabeth Greener '07 found a way to win a tight 8-6 contest.

The St. Olaf women returned to Owatonna Tennis Club Monday, where they had been playing "home" matches earlier in regular season play. The Oles ran into a solid St. Cloud State team and were defeated 7-2.

The lone wins for the Oles came at no. 6 singles, where Goerss defeated Katie Casper 6-4, 6-4. Also claiming a victory was the no. 1 doubles team of Eggert and Poplavska, 8-2.

The Oles now sport a 5-5 overall record. Looking forward, St. Olaf will host Bethel and St. Mary's on April 22 and 24, respectively. Gustavus will be hosting the MIAC Championships April 28 and 29.

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