However, all season long the Oles have looked like an experienced squad, always fighting to the last point and hustling after every ball.
This past weekend, St. Olaf ended their MIAC campaign with an 8-8 record, closing things out at the annual conference tournament, held in St. Peter. The women claimed sixth place.
In the Oles' first match Friday against St. Thomas, the team fell 5-1.
St. Olaf's lone victory came at no. 2 doubles, in which Ellen Goerss '09 and Sarah Pray '07 defeated Cortney Dirks and Michelle Mills of St. Thomas by a score of 8-5. Senior veteran Emily Eggert battled hard as well, winning her first set but dropping the second en route to a three-set defeat.
The loss to the Tommies forced the Oles into the consolation bracket, where they faced Bethel in the MIAC first round. All matches were forced inside due to lingering showers over St. Peter on Saturday.
Victories at no. 4, 5 and 6 singles, as well as 1 and 3 doubles lifted the Oles past the Royals. Pray and Diana Baetscher '09 both won their matches convincingly in straight sets.
On the doubles side, St. Olaf came out on the winning side of two tight matches. The duo of Eggert and Kristina Poplavska '09 won 8-5, while the consistent pair of Jorie Steffen '07 and Elizabeth Greener '07 defeated the opposing Bethel tandem 9-7.
A victory against Bethel brought another match to the Oles plate, with a fifth-place conference finish at stake in the consolation final against St. Catherine's. The Oles claimed victories at no. 2, 5 and 6 singles, as well as no. 2 doubles.
At no. 1 singles, Eggert won her first set 6-4 but dropped the second in a tiebreaker and lost the match in a third set super-tiebreaker.
The match concluded what has been an outstanding four-year career for Eggert at St. Olaf.
Steffen and Greener also dropped a tight 8-5 decision at no. 3 doubles.
At no. 2 singles, Poplavska defeated Lindsey Miller in a three-set thriller. The Ole dropped the first set 6-7, claimed the second 6-4, and kept her composure to win the third-set breaker 10-7.
"At conference, each player stepped on the court with the intention of using every shot and every strategy to win," said Baetscher, who went 2-1 on the weekend. "After spending ten hours living and breathing tennis, it didn't matter that we lost to St. Kate's. Everybody on the team truly played some of their best tennis, and we all rallied around one another."