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ISSUE 119 VOL 18 PUBLISHED 4/28/2006

Women take ball out of opposition's court

By Matt Tiano
Sports Editor

Friday, April 28, 2006

The St. Olaf women’'s tennis team could not have asked for better weather for their first home matches of the season, nor could they have hoped for a better all-around performance this past weekend. The Oles tallied victories over Bethel and St. Mary'’s last Friday and Saturday, both by scores of 7-2.

The overall theme of the weekend was strong, consistent play from top to bottom. On Friday, dominant singles play lifted the women, while on Saturday, doubles proved to be the answer.

On Friday versus Bethel, the Oles claimed no. 2-6 singles en route to the victory, although things were not easy. The Royals were extremely competitive, as two of the singles matches were decided in a third set super-tiebreaker.

At no. 2, Kristina Poplavska ’'09 defeated Courtney Kelley 6-3, 4-6, 10-6. At the no. 4 spot, Sarah Pray '’07 overcame a scoreless second set to claim the third set-tiebreaker 10-7. Diana Baetscher '’09 and Ellen Goerss '’09 both managed straight-set victories.

“"We’'ve focused some on superbreakers in practice and emphasized not letting up the pressure," Baetscher said. "“Ultimately, Kristina and Sarah both picked up their level of play.”"

In doubles play, the Oles managed to steal two of three matches from Bethel. At no. 1, the duo of Emily Eggert '’06 and Poplavska took their match 8-5. At no. 3, Jorie Steffen ‘'07 and Elizabeth Greener ‘'07 won a tight contest 9-7.

The Oles returned to the court Saturday for a run-in with St. Mary'’s, and again came away with a 7-2 rout. This time, doubles play was the answer, but singles play did not exactly go unnoticed either.

St. Olaf won all three doubles matches by scores of 8-3, relieving pressure from the team’s singles lineup to perform well, which they did.

Poplavska, Pray, Baetscher and Goerss were all 2-0 for the weekend in singles play.

"“Saturday, we were coming off of the previous night'’s win, and some of that momentum propelled us through our matches,"” Baetscher said.

The Oles improved their overall record to 7-5. The squad is peaking at the right time, as the most important stretch of the season is right around the corner. The Oles hosted powerhouse Gustavus Wednesday (losing 9-0) and will travel to St. Peter to play in the MIAC Tournament this Friday and Saturday.

“"We all want to play competitively down the road, hopefully coming away with some wins,”" Baetscher said. "Regardless of the conference outcome, everyone has improved and will continue to improve. If we play to our potential, the conference results should exhibit this.”"

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