CHICAGO, Ill. – The Carleton College women’s tennis team took an early lead during doubles en route to a 5-1 victory over Grinnell College in the opening round of the NCAA Championships. Juniors Molly Hemes (Green Bay, Wis./Preble) and Katherine Greenberg (St. Louis, Mo./Clayton) recorded victories in both singles and doubles.
This is the second straight year that the Knights (16-7) topped the Pioneers in the first round of the national tournament. Carleton will face national No. 26 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the second round on Saturday, May 11. When those teams met during the Midwest Invitational over spring break, the Warhawks prevailed by a 5-4 score.
Hemes and Greenberg picked up the first point in the team competition with a decisive 8-0 victory at third doubles, followed by an 8-2 victory at first doubles by the regionally-ranked tandem of Bridget Doyle (Sr./Mendota Heights, Minn./Visitation) and Anne Lombardi (Jr./Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale Central).
Grinnell earned their only point of the day at second doubles, as Laura Krull and Emma Macdonald took a close 9-8 match over Mikayla Becich (Fy./Bradfordwoods, Pa./North Allegheny) and Grace Davis (Fy./Neenah, Wis./Neenah).
Upon moving to singles, the depth of the Carleton roster took over. At the fifth slot, Claire Spencer (Fy./Newport News, Va./Menchville) swept her first set and went on to notch a 6-0, 6-2 victory. Hemes continued her strong outing, prevailing 6-1, 6-1 at fourth singles. That decision set the stage for Greenberg to clinch the victory for the Knights with a 6-1, 6-2 win at sixth singles. Lombardi and Becich were leading their matches as well, but those went unfinished once the team result was determined.
“This was a good first round for us,” said Carleton head coach Luciano Battaglini. “Everybody played good matches, and we’re really excited to have another opportunity to play again tomorrow against UW-Whitewater.
“Obviously we are playing a little different than we did earlier in the season. If people play at their best level, it should be a good competition.”
The other side of the regional bracket sees Ohio Northern University, which defeated Edgewood College 5-0 in the opening round, taking on regional host University of Chicago on Saturday in the other semifinal. The regional finals are slated for Sunday, May 12 at 12 p.m.