LAKEVILLE, Minn. — The last two regular-season conference champs squared off in the semifinals of the 2014 MIAC Playoffs, and the top-seeded Carleton College women’s tennis team posted a 5-2 victory over fourth seed St. Catherine University. The result advances the Knights to the MIAC championship match on Saturday when they host Gustavus Adolpus College with the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament at stake.
For the first time, the conference tournament was supposed to be played on-campus of the top seeds, but wet weather forced action on Thursday inside at Lifetime Fitness in Lakeville.
Despite the change in location, tonight’s match began in typical fashion for the Knights (17-2 overall), who went undefeated in conference play this season. A key component of that perfect 10-0 slate was the steady play of seniors Katherine Greenberg (Sr./St. Louis, Mo./Clayton) and Molly Hemes (Sr./Green Bay, Wis./Preble). The duo recorded Carleton’s first point at third doubles with a convincing 8-0 triumph, the duo’s seventh consecutive victory.
Carleton got another point at first doubles where the regionally-ranked tandem of Anne Lombardi (Sr./Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale Central) and Joyce Yu (So./Taipei, Taiwan/Taipei American School) edged the Wildcats’ top pairing by an 8-6 margin, avenging a loss to St. Kate’s during the regular season.
The Wildcats (13-8) got their first team point at second doubles as Markia Koval and Kylie Ketcho eventually prevailed in a tiebreaker, 9-8.
Just as she helped do in doubles, Greenberg got the Knights going early in the singles portion of the match. And as happened in doubles, she did not lose a game tonight, cruising to a 6-0, 6-0 win at sixth singles.
The Wildcats got a point back at third singles where Ketcho edged Mikayla Becich (So./Bradfordwoods, Pa./North Allegheny), 6-2 and 6-4, but that was followed quickly by Claire Spencer’s (So./Newport News, Va./Menchville) 6-2/6-2 triumph at second singles, which gave Carleton a 4-2 lead in the team competition.
Hemes then delivered the knockout blow when she prevailed 6-1, 7-5 at fourth singles. That result sends Carleton to the MIAC Playoffs – Finals for the third consecutive season.
The Knights claimed the conference’s postseason tournament titles in 2012 and 2013. They will face a familiar foe in Saturday’s championship match as Carleton and Gustavus will meet in the postseason for the fourth consecutive season. These two programs are the only ones to win the MIAC Playoffs since the format was established in 2007.
Action at the Bell Field Tennis Courts begins at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 3.