Gustavus Adolphus College has been chosen as one of eight regional sites to host first- and second-round competition in the 2006 NCAA Division III Women’s Tennis Championships. Wheaton (Ill.) meets the University of Chicago in a first-round matchup Friday, May 5 at 3 p.m. with the winner meeting Gustavus Saturday, May 6 at noon. The winner of the final earns a berth in the quarterfinal round of the team championships slated for May 17-19 at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Gustavus Adolphus College (27-4)
Conference / Place: Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference / first
Head Coach: Jon Carlson
Gustavus Adolphus, ranked seventh in the nation and second in the Central Region, captured their 21st Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference women’s tennis title last weekend and has made the NCAA field for the 18th time since 1989. Gustavus has a number of regionally ranked players, led by the doubles teams of Tara Houlihan (Sr., Sioux Falls, S.D.) and Lyndsey Palen (Sr., Rochester, Minn.) and Lauren Hom (Jr., Stevens Point, Wis.) and Marla Menne (Sr., White Bear Lake, Minn.). Houlihan and Palen, the defending NCAA Doubles Champions, are rated second behind DePauw’s Liz Bondi and Amrita Padda and were selected for the NCAA doubles field. Hom and Menne, who combined to win the Division III Women’s Doubles title at the ITA Small College Championships last fall, are ranked fifth in the region and are one of three doubles alternates for the NCAA field.
The Gusties also finished the regular season with four singles players ranked in the Top 25 of the Central Region. Hom and Houlihan are ranked sixth and seventh, respectively, while Jaime Gaard (Jr., Edina, Minn.) is ranked 13th and Palen is ranked 24th. Houlihan has been selected as a NCAA Singles Championships.
Wheaton College (Illinois) (18-2)
Conference / Place: College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin / first
Head Coach: Jane Nelson
The Thunder, rated 13th nationally and third in the Central Region, is in the field for the second time, also making an appearance in 2000. Wheaton won its 11th CCIW title last fall and has two of the region’s best players in its lineup. Elizabeth Maclellan (Sr., Lookout Mountain, Tenn.) and Jordan Hook (Fr., Wheaton, Ill.) are rated third and fourth, respectively, and were both selected for the NCAA Singles Championships. Maclellan and Hook were also one of 16 doubles teams to make the NCAA Doubles field, ending the season as the fourth-rated doubles team in the Central Region.
University of Chicago (15-8)
Conference / Place: University Athletic Association / fourth
Head Coach: Marty Perry
The Maroons, currently rated 15th nationally and fourth in the Central Region, is making its first appearance as a team in the NCAA Championships. Chicago, which plays in the extremely competitive University Athletic Association, is one of four league teams to make the NCAA field (Carnegie Mellon, Emory and Washington University in St. Louis are the others). Vindya Dayananda (Fy., Kathmandu, Nepal), the second rated singles player in the Central Region, is the lone Maroon to be selected for the NCAA Individual Championships. Ade Omodele-Lucien (Jr., Pebble Beach, Calif.) is also ranked in the Central Region (25th). Dayananda and Omodele-Lucien are also the seventh-rated doubles team in the Central Region.
Both Wheaton and Gustavus posted victories over the University of Chicago at the ITA Midwest Invitational in Madison, Wisconsin in early April. Gustavus defeated Chicago 5-3 in the semifinals, while the Thunder were 5-4 winners in the third-place match.