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ISSUE 120 VOL 20 PUBLISHED 5/4/2007

Tennis eliminated from MIACs

By Barrett Kennedy
Sports Editor

Friday, May 4, 2007

The St. Olaf women's tennis team had their season extinguished on a gorgeous Friday morning after St. Ben's squeaked past them 5-4 in the first round of the MIAC playoff tournament. The Oles did, however, jump out to a quick 2-0 lead, winning close doubles matches to start their playoff campaign.

The first-year pairing of Sarah Carlson '10 and Aimee Ny '10 lead off for the Oles in a highlight come-from-behind match. After being down seven games to three, Carlson and Ny stormed back to even the score and eventually take the match 9-8 in a tiebreaker.

Diana Baetscher '09 and Ellen Goerss '09 followed with the Oles' second doubles win by a score of 8-5. The playoffs were looking bright for the women as they secured their 2-0 lead. However, the Oles could not protect their lead as the match moved on to singles play.

"In the singles, they were really tough at the top spots," head coach Scott Nesbit said. "However, Ellen Goerss played very well in coming off an ankle injury." Goerss hurt her ankle the previous weekend but capitalized in her singles match on Friday, prevailing 6-3 in both sets to put the Oles one win away from advancing to the semifinals.

Carlson also continued her fine play, winning her singles match at the no. 5 spot. After splitting the first two sets of the match, Carlson won 12-10 in a hard-fought super tiebreaker.

The women found themselves up 4-3 with just two singles matches remaining. Still, the Oles were cognitive of the fact that St. Ben's was strong at the top of their lineup. The Oles' playoff hopes relied on one of their top two singles players beating a very talented opponent which, unfortunately, was not the case Friday.

Kristina Poplavska '09 and Jorie Steffen '07, St. Olaf's first and second singles players respectively, were defeated in straight sets and the women's tennis season came to a close on their home courts.

"We loved playing our last match at home. It was a beautiful day and we had a good amount of fans," Coach Nesbit said.

After their loss Friday morning, the tournament host Oles watched from the sidelines as the rest of the matches predictably played out. In all, the higher seeded team won every match. However, this did not surprise Coach Nesbit.

"In a tennis dual match with another team, you do not just need to have one person win a match that is unexpected, but you have to have at least 5 people win unexpected matches," he said.

It was not merely coincidence when Gustavus routed Carleton 9-0 in the MIAC championship match Saturday afternoon. Gustavus will host the NCAA regional tournament on May 4-6.

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