The Gustavus Women’s Tennis team wrapped up regular season play last weekend with two decisive wins over conference foes St. Olaf and Bethel.
With their two wins, the Gusties enter the MIAC playoffs as the No. 2 seed and will host Bethel in the first round of playoffs.
Their lone conference loss on the season came over the easter break long weekend as they hosted the No. 35-ranked Carleton Knights.
After changing up doubles pairs slightly moving into the final few matches of the regular season, the Gusties have relied on strong doubles play as a key strength.
Against Carleton, the No. 1 duo of Senior Bri Hartmann and Ginger Valentine secured a decisive 8-4 win over their nationally ranked opponents.
First-year Simona Potockova and Sophomore Hannah Borgh followed suit with an 8-5 win at No. 2 while Senior Lilly Hartman and First-year Anna Stutz finished off the sweep with an 8-6 win at No. 3 doubles.
Despite the 3-0 lead after doubles, the Knights responded strongly in the singles play.
Stutz gave the Gusties a boost with a 6-0, 6-1 win at No. 5 singles, but the Knights responded with quick victories at No. 3, No. 4, and No. 6 singles.
With a 4-3 lead, the match came down to two super tiebreakers at No. 1 and No. 2 singles.
After losing the first set 6-3, Hartmann rallied to take the second 7-5 before falling 10-5 in the third set tiebreaker at No. 1.
At No. 2, Valentine battled and ultimately fell by a score of 6-3, 6-7, 10-8.
“We have put more of an emphasis on doubles at practice and it has started to show in our results. Our doubles teams are really starting to click with each other and have been playing well. Our singles has consistently been a strength throughout the season but it’s nice to see our doubles improve,” Hartman said.
The Gusties returned to Saint Peter this past weekend for two home conference matches to finish out the regular season, hosting St. Olaf and Bethel.
In the first match against St. Olaf, the Gusties earned their second straight doubles sweep with scores of 8-4, 8-2, and 8-3, respectively at No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3 doubles.
The Gusties then moved on to dominate singles play, never losing more than three games in a set and racking up six different 6-0 sets up and down the lineup.
They got wins from Hartmann, Valentine, Hartman, Potockova, Stutz, and Senior Ally Thorsen.
The second match of the doubleheader featured a showdown between the Gusties and Bethel University that would decide which team took second place in the regular season conference standings.
Both teams entered the match with 8-1 records in the MIAC.
Once again, doubles proved to be a strength as the Gusties secured comfortable victories and No. 1 and No. 3 doubles to take a 2-1 lead.
At No. 1, Valentine and Hartmann won 8-2 against an all-american duo from the fall season.
Hartman and Stutz added an 8-3 victory at No. 3, while Borgh and Potockova fell 8-3 at No. 2.
“I thought we played very well against Bethel. We came out strong in doubles, winning two of the three, to set ourselves up for singles,” Assistant Coach Heidi Carlson said.
Stutz paced the Gusties in singles once again with a dominant 6-0, 6-0 win at No. 5. At No. 4, Potockova won by a score of 6-0, 6-4 and the Gusties were within one point of victory.
At No. 1, Hartmann won a tight first set 7-5, before pulling away for a 6-2 victory in the second to clinch the match for the Gusties.
At No. 2, Valentine earned the final victory for the Gusties with a come-from-behind win by a score of 5-7, 6-2, 10-7.
Hartman fell in two close sets by a score of 7-5, 6-4 at No. 3 and Ally Thorsen lost by a similar score of 6-4, 7-5.
“Having a young team we’ve made great strides throughout the season and continue to get better every match. We are playing with more confidence and feel ready after playing many tough matches during the regular season,” Hartman said.
As previously mentioned, the Gusties enter the MIAC playoffs this week as the No. 2 seed and they’ll host a semifinal rematch with Bethel on Friday, May 3 at 3:30 p.m.
“This is the fun part of the season and the girls are enjoying competing. Playing as a team and for each other is what we stress most, and they are showing that so well right now. Bethel will come in hungry, and we’ve got to be ready to battle,” Carlson said.