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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Women’s Tennis finishes regular s­­­­eason, Schmidt undefeated

<st regular season match for Carleton women’s tennis culminated in a showdown with fellow undefeated team, perennially strong Gustavus Adolphus College, to determine the leader of the MIAC. In years past, MIAC losses have been an anomaly for GAC, and only recently has the Knights program rapidly improved to join them on this elite level. The Gusties bested the Knights 6-3 in this competition, but Carleton was able to put up a much harder fight than in years past and might have another shot against this team in the post-season.

As the Carleton College vehicles reached St. Peter, it was increasingly apparent that Minnesota’s flat terrain would not stand in the way of the wind, so the coaches made the decision immediately upon arrival to play the match inside Gustavus’ indoor bubble. Echoes abounding, the numerous Gustie fans made their presence felt, yet Carleton’s classy support squad never let us down.

Against the formidable Gustavus doubles lineup the visiting team did not fare too well. The usual pairings of Bridget Doyle ’13 and Frances Leung ’10 at second and Sarah Thappa ’13 and Hannah Goldberg ’10 at third were both handed 8-1 losses. The powerful groundstrokes mixed with some unorthodoxy plus incredible movement at net are traits to be emulated. While second and third doubles were a bit overwhelmed, first doubles took on a tough team with whom they have historically had nail biters. Though Erin Gudul ’12 and Kathryn Schmidt ’12 have always been able to sneak out victories, this time around, they figured out the correct strategy and stuck with it for an 8-4 convincing win.

With Gustavus leading the team score 2-1, the top of their singles lineup had a hard time with the Knights, but the bottom half took care of business to take the MIAC championship. At sixth singles, freshman Courtney Halbach was in for a learning experience against an opponent who dealt her a mix of topspin and short slices. Halbach says she is confident for the next time they face each other. At five, Thappa played well but was no match for Gustavus’ regular third singles player who was moving well despite an injury. Leung at fourth unfortunately could put all the pieces together against one of her solid doubles opponents.

Following the fourth to sixth singles, the next to finish was Doyle as she dumbfounded the other half of her doubles competition. Against a tough player in her own right the first year Knight employed all her variety as well as some sweet passing shots when her opponent attempted to come to net. Gudul’s loss at third gave Gustavus their sixth and final point. Yet after losing the first set that was much closer than the 6-2 score indicates, she started winning more of the big points and playing smarter tactically. Regrettably it was just a little too late, and her opponent pulled out the second set 6-4.

The tightest match of the day was at number one singles: a matchup of two top regionally ranked players, both of whom compete hard until the last ball bounces twice. It was a bit of a streaky match, which hopefully was more entertaining than stressful for fans on both sides. Schmidt took the first set from her scrappy opponent 6-3 and then proceeded to get out to a 3-0 lead in the second. But the number one Gustie stayed calm and significantly reduced her unforced errors, winning her the next 5 games. The Knight had to keep putting pressure on her adversary, and by coming into net more often than not to finish points, she finally took the set 7-5 for a third point in Carleton’s win column for the day. 

Schmidt finished off the singles season undefeated in the conference, and she and her partner Erin Gudul did the same in doubles. Individual nationals are a possibility for both singles and doubles, so the coming weeks will determine how the cards fall. The Knights as a team also have the chance to go to the national tourney in Fredericksburg, Virginia if they win the conference tournament this coming weekend: a feat that will most definitely have to be accomplished by going through Gustavus.

-Kathryn Schmidt is a member of the Women’s tennis team.

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