ST. PETER, Minn. — The Carleton College women’s tennis team locked up at least a share of its second MIAC regular-season title in three years with a convincing 7-2 triumph at Gustavus Adolphus College on Saturday afternoon. Helping lead the Knights to victory was Anne Lombardi (Sr./Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale Central), who prevailed in matches against regionally-ranked competition at first doubles and first singles.
Carleton, ranked No. 24 in the nation, improved 15-2 on the season overall and 9-0 in MIAC play. That puts the Knights a match-and-half better than St. Thomas and St. Catherine—squads Carleton defeated earlier this season—both of which sit at 7-1 in conference games.
The Knights, who won the regular-season title in 2012 and the playoff championships in both 2012 and 2013, also locked up the top seed in the MIAC Playoffs with today victory. They will have an opportunity to win the regular-season crown outright when Carleton visits Macalester College on Sunday, April 27.
Saturday’s victory was Carleton’s sixth straight in the series, the Knights’ longest streak of success against the Gusties (13-5, 6-2 MIAC). When Carleton beat Gustavus on April 7, 2012, it was the Knights’ first victory over the former conference juggernaut in nearly 24 years. Today’s result started a streak that has seen Luciano Battaglini’s squad now win six straight matches against the famed Gusties.
On Saturday, the Knights built the momentum early, sweeping all three doubles matches. Lombardi and Joyce Yu (So./Taipei, Taiwan/Taipei American School) posted an 8-1 result over the No. 11-ranked tandem in the central region. Mikayla Becich (So./Bradfordwoods, Pa./North Allegheny) and Grace Davis (So./Neenah, Wis./Neenah) along with Katherine Greenberg (Sr./St. Louis, Mo./Clayton) and Molly Hemes (Sr./Green Bay, Wis./Preble) prevailed by identical 8-4 scores at second and third doubles.
Greenberg extended the lead to 4-0 in the team competition as she won 6-2, 6-1 at sixth singles. Yu collected the deciding fifth point moments later, winning at fifth singles by the same score.
After Becich won her fifth straight singles match, prevailing 6-1, 6-4 at third singles, the Gusties finally got on the scoreboard with three-set victories at second and fourth singles.
Lombardi, who is ranked No. 11 in the region, bounced back after dropping the second set to win 6-2, 4-6 and 10-7 over No. 23 Michaela Schultz.
The Knights are now 32-1—during the regular season and postseason combined—against MIAC teams over the last three seasons.