The Gustavus Women’s tennis team was in action last weekend for the Fall Intercollegiate Tennis Association Regional Tournament. The event was hosted here in St. Peter and featured competitors from 30 of the top teams in the Midwest Region.
Numerous Gusties made deep runs in the tournament, but none were as exciting or noteworthy as Junior Briana Hartmann, who won all of her singles matches en route to a convincing victory in the final.
With her singles victory, Hartmann is automatically an All-American and will advance to the Oracle Cup in Rome, Georgia on Oct. 11 through the 15. There she will compete against the winners of the other seven regional ITA tournaments to determine a national champion.
Hartmann was seeded 9-16 going into the tournament, and had some close matches early in the tournament before closing out the final in dominating fashion.
She began the tournament with a first-round bye, before beating Gabby Ferro of Cornell (6-0, 6-0). She then beat Julie Martin of UW-Whitewater (6-7(3), 6-4, 10-8) and Milica Cvrkota of Grinnell (4-6, 6-1, 6-1), en route to the quarterfinals. To get to the semifinals, Hartmann beat Laura French of Coe (6-3, 6-4).
On the final day of the tournament, she overcame Alex Talyansky of UW-Whitewater (6-2, 6-3), and finally rolled through Jillian Wallace (6-1, 6-1) to secure her All-American status.
The singles final featured two underdogs; both Hartmann and Wallace were 9-16 seeds.
“Bri played unbelievable today. She was very sharp mentally and was great in chasing down balls. She executed her game plan perfectly. It was great to have the whole team there as well. I think the cheering actually had an impact on the overall result,” Head Coach Jon Carlson said after the match.
With this win, Hartmann becomes the 41st All-American in Gustavus Women’s tennis history, and the first since 2011.
“Bri played unbelievable today. She was very sharp mentally and was great at chasing down balls. She executed her game plan perfectly.” — Jon Carlson
Although Hartmann was the only Gustie to reach the finals, many of her teammates also had successful tournaments, both in singles and doubles.
First-year Ginger Valentine made it to the Round of 16 after a bye and wins over Sami Hindt of Bethel (7-5, 6-1) and Laura Sonday of St. Mary’s (7-5, 6-0). She then fell to Natalie Wijesinghe of UW- Eau Claire (6-4, 6-3).
Senior Katie Aney had a first round bye and beat Paige Nierman of UW-Whitewater (6-0, 6-0) before falling in a heartbreaker to Maddie Riermann of Bethel (4-6, 6-2, 13-11).
Senior Laura Martin enjoyed a first-round bye before losing to Brigid McGuire of UW-Whitewater (6-3, 6-1). Junior Sheila Sullivan lost her first match to Sabrina Barboza of St. Olaf (6-4, 6-2). First Year Hannah Borgh also fell in the first round to Carleton standout Danielle Vasiliev (6-2, 6-1).
“Such a great day of big wins and a lot of learning, I’m excited for the team,” Carlson said.
On the doubles side, Aney and Hartmann beat Pieterick and Kopiecki of Hamline (8-1) and Sonday and Lois of St. Mary’s (8-3) before falling in the Round of 16 to Mcguire and Wallace of UW-Whitewater (8-3).
The team of Valentine and Borgh had similar success, beating Sporer and Eckstrom of St. Kate’s (8-2) in the first round. They then had two competitive matches, beating Cogan and Cvrkota of Grinnell 9-7 before falling to Lindsay and Benoy of St. Thomas 9-7.
Sullivan and Martin won their first round over Colbrow and Miller of St. Ben’s (8-4), before falling to Henderson and Wijesinghe of UW-Eau Claire (8-2) in the round of 32.
With the ITA Midwest Regional Tournament complete, the Gusties will travel to Omaha this weekend to compete in another individual tournament before the conclusion of their fall season.
With the exception of Hartmann, who will continue competing at the ITA Oracle Cup in mid October, the rest of the Gusties will begin their off-season training as they prepare to defend their 2017 Spring MIAC Championship.
Although their top singles player from last season graduated,with added talent in the freshman class and experience at the top of their lineup, they should be prepared for another successful season.
The Gusties’ spring season will begin in early February.