St. Olaf 8, Bethel University 1 (box)

Harper's win streak to 11 as Ole women rebound against Bethel

Michael Abdella
April 25, 2012

LAKEVILLE, Minn.- Following a loss to Saint Mary's on Saturday, the St. Olaf women's tennis team rebounded with a 8-1 victory over Bethel on Wednesday evening at Lakeville Lifetime Fitness.

The win meant the Oles have defeated the Royals in each of the past eight seasons. Despite a slight line-up change, St. Olaf's won two of the three doubles matches and all six of the singles matches. Caitlin Harper, Christine Muller, Julia Ellis, and Kristi Kroker, the top four singles players for the Oles, each won in both singles and doubles play.

St. Olaf started off the evening by taking two of the three doubles matches, debuting a new third doubles tandem in the process. At first doubles, Harper and Muller rolled by Steph Brown and Lisa Scheevel 8-1 and gained their seventh MIAC win in 9 matches. Kroker and Ellis leveled their conference mark at 3-3 with a 8-4 win over Kristin Vivian and Kayla Wheeler. First-years Erin Hynes and Martha Hogan stepped into the doubles line-up at third doubles and lost 8-3 to Amanda Johnson and Charise Kendrick. While Hynes has featured in the singles line-up, the match was Hogan's first as an Ole.

St. Olaf also switched up the tail end of the singles line-up but still won the six singles matches without much difficulty. Singles play was highlighted by Harper's 11th straight singles win, a 6-3, 6-1 defeat of Vivian. After suffering a season-opening defeat to Concordia-Moorhead's Andrea Rognlien, the senior has not lost a singles match. Christine Muller trailed 5-3 in the first set, but pulled it out in a tie-break, before cruising through the second set. Ellis joined Harper with an 8-1 conference record with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Scheevel. Kroker dropped the first set 6-1 to Kayla Wheeler at fourth singles, the lone set the Oles dropped. However, the first-year bounced back and eventually took the match in a match tie-break 10-6 for her third straight win. Lizzie Carlson moved up to the fifth spot and did not miss a beat in a straight-set win over Johnson. Caitlin Owsley notched her third MIAC win in three tries as she beat Abigail Kreklau 6-3, 6-1.

St. Olaf's win means the squad has clinched the third spot in the MIAC playoffs, while Bethel falls to 6-12, 1-8 in the MIAC. St. Olaf (10-2, 7-2 MIAC) sits behind undefeated Carleton and Gustavus. St. Olaf is one game ahead of Saint Benedict but defeated the Blazers 5-4 on March 30. The Oles will face the sixth seed (St. Catherine, Concordia, or Saint Mary's) in the first round. The final regular season match for the team is Thursday at Gustavus at 4:30 pm.

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