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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

A Capital Upset in Madison for Women’s Tennis

<l match of the presitgious Midwest Invitational Tournament last Saturday, the fate of the Carleton women’s tennis team lay in the fledgling fingers of one first-year.
Looking to avenge their Spring Break loss to the nation’s 14th-ranked team, DePauw University, Molly Hemes ’14 battled as the underdog with the score tied 4-4 and fifth place at the tournament on the line.

The young Hemes, in a feat that would make Atlas whimper, not only carried the weight of the match on her shoulders, her teammates’ expectations, the memory of their previous loss to the team, and her self-doubt, but also a shin injury from the previous week.

After losing the first set, Hemes overcame and courageously came back to win 6-7, 7-5, 6-3.
With more tough wins from Bridget Doyle ’13 and Erin Gudul ’12 in singles, combined with Gudul and Kathryn Schmidt ’12 along with Doyle and Anne Lombardi ’14 in doubles, Carleton beat DePauw 5-4, garnering them fifth place in the tournament after losing to No. 6 Denison University (8-1) and beating Luther College (7-2) Friday.

The humble Hemes didn’t see herself as the hero of the day, however.

 “It’s really not that big of a deal,” said Hemes. “I just happened to be the last one to play.”
Coach Luciano Battaglini, on the other hand, saw Hemes’ win as a major step in her development as a player.

“It’s always very, almost demoralizing, when you work hard during the first set, you’re ahead all the time and end up losing,” said Battaglini. “It’s normal in tennis, unfortunately, that if people have a loss in the first set they usually quit in the second, especially if they fall behind. I was proud of Molly. The good thing about Molly is that she doesn’t seem to get as nervous playing; she is very coachable. She is not very hard on herself; she can play hard and then also take things into perspective. I thought that she did a great job throughout and gave it the best she can. Her opponent was a very good competitor; it made things more difficult but more fun to watch.”

Her supportive team propelled Hemes to victory.

“I started to get a little tight at the end of the first set,” said Hemes, “but then pretty soon our whole team was watching and everybody was cheering me on and I actually started to get pumped up and I wasn’t so nervous or tight anymore and everybody just helped me to pull the match out. Whether I won the match or lost the match, we still made an incredible team effort that day.”

The win against Luther was a major step forward for the team, having lost to them the past two years. For Carleton’s first appearance in the tournament and entering as one of the lowest ranked teams, the results are admirable; especially the fact that the win against DePauw marks Carleton’s first victory over a nationally ranked team since 2005.

“Although I was extremely happy for Molly, I still think she can play even better,” said Battaglini.

Overall, Battaglini thinks this weekend revealed how the whole team has room for improvement.

“Everybody’s going to feel different throughout the day, throughout the weekend, but we’ve been talking in practice, we’ve been talking all the time about how everyone can contribute and get tough and not get involved in things you cannot control during the match,” said Battaglini. “What people are finally learning now is that if they try their best and are positive, in the end they are gonna succeed regardless of outcome. On the other hand it showed us that some people need to work on their fitness. Some people need to work technically. We lost some matches clearly because we were overpowered. Quite frankly, it was a very tough match.”

The Lady Knights meet Luther College again Sunday at 9 a.m., weather permitting, on the Bell Field courts along with a rescheduled match at St. Olaf Monday.

Felicity Flesher is a member of the women’s tennis team.

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