The Carleton College women’s tennis team absorbed its first setback of the 2012 campaign, falling 7-0 on Sunday. The loss came at the hands of the University of Minnesota, which is ranked No. 71 among NCAA Division I programs.
This was the fifth straight year that Carleton, currently ranked No. 21 among Division III programs, has had the opportunity to play two levels up. Knights head coach Luciano Battaglini spent four seasons as an assistant with the Gopher program before taking over the reigns at Carleton in time for the 2007-08 campaign.
“I would like to thank coach Tyler Thomson for the great opportunity to play a Division I program, especially to play a Big 10 team,” Battaglini said. “I have a lot of respect for Tyler and his program. This is an unusual, but very good opportunity for our program.
“I felt like we handled ourselves really, really well. The score sometimes doesn’t show the whole story, but some of the points were very competitive. The Minnesota players have lot more experience and more skills.”
The Golden Gophers started the day by blanking No. 62 Virginia Tech, then improved to 12-0 all-time against the Knights.
During this match, Minnesota swept the doubles contests for the first point—at the Division I level the squad that wins the majority of the doubles contests gets one point in the team competition—then finished with straight-set victories in all six singles matches.
Bridget Doyle ‘13 and Kathryn Schmidt ‘12 put up Carleton’s best fight in doubles, falling 8-2 atop the lineup.
Schmidt had her winning streak at first singles snapped at five matches after dropping a 6-0, 6-1 decision. Doyle had the most success of any Knight in singles, taking a total of three games at the second spot. However, she still lost for the first time this season, 6-2 and 6-1.
Anne Lombardi ‘14, Molly Hemes ‘14, Katherine Greenberg ‘14, and Felicity Flesher ‘14 met with limited success as well, combining to take five games total in the other singles matches.
“This experience gives us a lot of confidence for the remaining schedule,” said Battaglini. “This is really going to help us when we play competitive teams in Division III. Now we believe that we can do a great job ahead if everybody keeps working together and keeps enjoying the process.”
Carleton’s final pre-Spring Break match will be on Friday, March 2 against Bethel University. The Knights will then step away from competition for two-and-a-half weeks before facing a handful of opponents during the annual trip to Hilton Head, S.C.