Thursday, the Oles defeated Bethel by a slim 5-4 margin. Ellen Goerss '09 played in two crucial matches, winning her singles contest in a tiebreaker and her doubles match by a 9-8 score with partner Diana Baetscher '09 to clinch an Ole victory.
The women carried this momentum with them to Winona on Saturday afternoon and enjoyed similar success, downing St. Mary's by a score of 6-3. Kristina Poplavska '09 won her match at first singles against a tough Cardinal opponent, paving the way for wins from Baetscher and Sarah Carlson '10. This win effectively sealed their spot in the playoffs.
The Oles took a step backward on Monday, getting swept 9-0 by first-place Gustavus in St. Peter. Gustavus is a Division III powerhouse in women's tennis and Monday's win over the Oles capped their undefeated MIAC season.
However, the women are more focused on what lies ahead.
"We are very excited to play St. Benedict's in the first round of the playoffs," head coach Scott Nesbit said. The Oles lost 6-3 to St. Bens in a hard-fought indoor match back on Feb. 17. They are eagerly anticipating this upcoming rematch and the chance to beat the Bennies when it really counts.
The women open up the MIAC playoff tournament Friday at 9 a.m. on St. Olaf's very own Carlson Courts. St. Olaf will play host to an electric and intense playoff atmosphere both Friday and Saturday, with ideal tennis weather forecasts for sunshine and a light breeze.
"We would love to have some fans if people don't have class and can come root us on," said Nesbit.
Gustavus is the number one seed in the six-team tournament, followed by Carleton (9-1), St. Ben's (8-1), St. Thomas (7-3) and St. Kate's (5-5).
If things go the Oles' way on Friday, they would play on Saturday in the semi-final match at 9 a.m. and in the championship at 1 p.m.