Saint Mary's 5, St. Olaf 4 (box)

Despite losing to Saint Mary's in nail-biter, women's tennis clinches playoff berth

Michael Abdella
April 21, 2012

OWATONNA, Minn.- In a match-up of regionally-ranked teams, the St. Olaf women's tennis team lost a nail-biter 5-4 to Saint Mary's on Friday afternoon at Owatonna Indoor Tennis Center, but clinched a berth in the MIAC Playoffs.

St. Olaf lost two of the three doubles matches, but won three of the first four completed singles matches to lead 4-3. However, the Cardinals won the final two matches to get their first win against the Oles in 14 years under Jeff Halberg.

St. Olaf led 4-3 with the first and sixth singles matches still on court. At first singles, Christine Muller faced freshman McKennah Edwards. Edwards' hard, flat ground strokes earned her the first set 6-3, but Muller's consistency helped her take the second set 6-4. The two then played a super-tiebreaker, which Edwards ended up taking 12-10 to level the team score at 4-4. Edwards picked up her 20th win in 26 singles matches this spring. The attention then shifted to the sixth singles match between Lizzie Carlson and Deanne Webber. In a match featuring long, grinding baseline rallies, Carlson won the first set 6-4, before Webber won the second by the same score, after breaking Carlson's serve in the tenth game. The long rallies continued in the super-tiebreak as neither player led by more than two points, until Webber came out on top 10-7.

In the other singles matches, Caitlin Harper, Julia Ellis, and Kristi Kroker picked up straight-set victories for St. Olaf, while Erin Hynes fell 6-1, 6-1 to Lindsey Reinisch. Harper's personal winning streak extended to 10 matches, as she dispatched Bailey Edwards 6-2, 6-2. Harper is 7-1 in MIAC play, as is Ellis after her 6-1, 6-1 win over Killian Edwards. Kroker improved to 8-3 on the year, dropping just three games against Abby Voigt.

In doubles, Saint Mary's took two of the three matches to take an early lead. McKennah and Bailey Edwards, the region's eighth-ranked doubles team, powered past Harper and Muller 8-4 at first doubles, while Killian Edwards and Lexi Felten thwarted Liz Eggert and Andrea Jumes' attempted comeback at third doubles to win 8-5. Ellis and Kroker earned St. Olaf a point by playing arguably their best match of the year. The pair beat Abby Voigt and Grace Zachman 8-2.

Despite falling to 6-2 in the MIAC and 9-2 overall, St. Olaf clinched a spot in the MIAC Playoffs. The Oles are currently third behind Carleton (9-0) and Gustavus (7-0). Saint Mary's improves to 9-11, 3-5 in the conference, as they try to sneak into the playoffs with a late season run. St. Olaf's next match is the rescheduled affair with Bethel. The match was originally scheduled for April 19 but now will be played at Bethel on Wednesday at 4:30.

Contact media relations specialist Mike Ludwig at (507) 786-3834 or ludwigm@stolaf.edu.