2019 Women’s Tennis Preview Posted on February 8th, 2019 by

SAINT PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus women’s tennis team, who sits atop the MIAC preseason poll, is set to begin its 2019 spring season on Saturday.

The challenge that lies ahead for the Gusties is defending the conference title, which they have won in three of the last four years, including last season.

“Every year our goal is to win it, but whoever wins it this year, it will definitely be the toughest road I’ve seen,” said head coach Jon Carlson, who is in his 29th season at the helm. “There are more strong teams in the conference than there has ever been and nobody is going to get a free pass. But we’re excited about where we’re at as a team, regardless of our ranking we’re just focusing on getting better day by day so that when we get to these big matches in April we’re playing our best tennis.”

Top returners on this season’s team include Bri Hartmann (Sr., Owatonna, Minn.), Lilly Hartman (Sr., Cedar Rapids, Iowa), and Ginger Valentine (So., Delano, Minn.) who all garnered all-conference honors for the Black and Gold last season. Valentine also won the Fall ITA Midwest singles title, earning All-America status.

“I think our seniors in general have done a good job being leaders,” Carlson said. “Bri [Hartmann], Lilly [Hartman], Sarah [Link] (Sr., Inver Grove Heights, Minn.), Caitlin [Steffen] (Sr., Baxter, Minn.), Sheila [Sullivan] (Sr., St. Paul, Minn.), and Ally [Thorsen] (Sr., Eden Prairie, Minn.) all bring something different to the leadership role. Then as a group they make up an excellent leadership team. Whether it’s leading by example, or bringing positivity, or being more laid back but still willing to take a stand, our seniors have it all.”

The Gusties have some new faces stepping into the fray as they graduated their Nos. 2 and 3 singles slots, as well as half of their Nos. 1 and 2 doubles teams.

“We had a lot of great talent come our way through recruiting this year and I need to make sure that my main focus is that everyone from top to bottom on our roster is continuing to improve,” Carlson said. “I’m just very pleased with what we have as far as talent and depth go, as I haven’t had this big of roster since the 1990s.”

The Gusties begin their season on Saturday when they host Saint Mary’s for a 10 a.m. match and then take on St. Scholastica for a 5:30 p.m. match.


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