St. Peter, Minn. – Streaks, just like records, are meant to be broken – sports have taught us that. For more than two decades, the Gustavus women’s tennis team, under the direction of the Head Coach Jon Carlson, has enjoyed one of the more brilliant streaks seen in collegiate women’s tennis. At 2:44 p.m. on Sunday, April 29, 2012, that streak came to an end. By battling back after losing the first set 6-4, Carleton’s No. 3 singles player Anne Lombardi took the second set 6-2 before earning the Knight’s the deciding fifth team point with a 10-4 super-breaker victory in the third. With a 5-4 win over the Gusties, Carleton becomes the 2012 MIAC Champion, snapping Gustavus’ 20-year reign as conference champion.
“I’m proud of the way the girls competed today,” said Jon Carlson. “They showed a lot of heart and battled to the end. Carleton was just a little better than us today and they deserve a lot of credit. Hopefully we’ll get another shot at them next weekend.”
After falling to St. Olaf 5-4 in the 1991 season, the Gustavus women’s tennis team went on to win finish undefeated in MIAC play for 20 consecutive seasons, tallying 214 straight wins within league play. Carleton finishes the 2012 regular season with an overall record of 16-5 and an MIAC mark of 10-0. Gustavus heads into the MIAC Playoffs at 16-8 overall and 9-1 in the MIAC.
The Knights kicked the day off by winning two of three points in the doubles competition. Katherine Greenberg and Molly Hemes put Carleton up 1-0 with a 9-7 win over Annie Mahoney (Duluth, Minn.) and Mary Roop (La Crosse, Wis.) at No. 3 doubles. Trailing 7-6, Greenberg and Hemes rattled off three straight games to earn the victory.
Megan Born (Antigo, Wis.) and Alex Erickson (Minnetonka, Minn.) tied the match up at 1-1 with a tightly-contested win at No. 2 doubles. After going back-and-forth through several breaks, the score was tied at 8-8 heading into the breaker. Born and Erickson were able to defeat Anne Lombardi and Bridget Doyle in the super-breaker 10-4 to take the second doubles point.
Carleton’s Kathryn Schmidt and Erin Gudul earned the third doubles point over Megan Gaard (Edina, Minn.) and Laurel Krebsbach (North Oaks, Minn.) at No. 1. After breaking serve and grabbing a 4-3 lead, Schmidt and Gudul held on for the remainder to take the match 8-6.
The Knights went up 3-1 after Molly Hemes cruised to a straight-set victory over Mallory Shellum (St. James, Minn.) 6-2, 6-3 at No. 5 singles. Sophie Horton (Northfield, Ill.) cut the lead to 3-2 with a win over Katherine Greenberg at No. 6. Horton won 6-1, 6-4 in straight sets.
Kathryn Schmidt brought the Knights to within a point of decision (4-2) with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Alex Erickson at No. 1.
Although it looked like Carleton was heading for an easy win through the early portion of the singles competition, Megan Born stepped up for the Gusties in the fourth spot. After giving up five straight points with a 2-1 lead for a 6-4 loss in the first set, Born found herself down 0-3 in the second. The sophomore would not go quietly into the afternoon, battling back with four consecutive games (4-3) and taking the second set 6-4. Born built on the momentum in the third set super-breaker, winning 13-11 to cut the Carleton advantage to 4-3. Megan earned her 20th singles win of the season with the victory.
While Megan Gaard was in a three-set battle with Bridget Doyle at No. 2, Laurel Krebsbach was locked in her own three-set match with Anne Lombardi at No. 3. Lombardi won five games in a row to win the set two 6-2. She then went on to cruise to a 10-4 victory in the third set for the Carleton’s fifth point (5-3).
Following a 6-3 win in the opening set, Gaard responded to 7-5 loss in the second with a 10-6 victory in the third, bringing the match score to a final at 5-4.
Following today’s match, the field is now set for the 2012 MIAC Women’s Tennis Playoffs. The MIAC Playoffs will begin on Friday, May 4 at 12:00 p.m. with No. 3 St. Olaf taking on No. 6 St. Catherine, and No. 4 Saint Benedict battling No. 5 St. Thomas. No. 2 seed Gustavus will face the highest remaining seed on Saturday, May 5 at 9:00 a.m., while No. 1 seed Carleton plays the lowest remaining seed at 9:00 a.m. as well. The MIAC Playoff Championship match will take place later in the day at 2:30 p.m. The entire tournament will be held at the Brown Outdoor Courts in St. Peter, Minn.