Green Knights Claim Midwest Conference Championship

From Sports Information Director, October 16, 2009 | Women's Tennis
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

ROCKFORD, Ill. - St. Norbert College won its third Midwest Conference women's tennis championship, and its first since 1997, with a pair of dual meet wins at the MWC Team Championship at the Boylan Tennis Center.

The Green Knights upended five-time defending MWC champion Grinnell College 5-4 in the semifinals in a match that lasted a grueling 5 1/2 hours. St. Norbert rode the momentum to a 5-1 win over Beloit College in the championship. St. Norbert avenged a dual losses to both teams suffered on Oct. 4.

St. Norbert picked up only one doubles point against Grinnell, needed to claim four singles points to win the dual. Lauren Post and Kelly Van Handel handled Grinnell's Toby Cain and Tatyana Sukharnikova by a 6-2, 6-0 score at No. 1 doubles.

Post then dispatched Cain 6-2, 6-0 at No. 1 singles, while Van Handel topped Jill Akiyama 6-4, 7-5 at No. 2 singles. Grinnell claimed the matches at Nos. 3 and 4, but the Green Knights pulled out a pair of three-set wins at the final two flights, after both players lost their first set, to earn the win.

Maria Slusarek topped Kelsey Picken 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 at No. 5 singles, while Callie Schroeder's win over Elizabeth Spears at No. 6 singles by a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 score proved to be the difference.

St. Norbert picked up two doubles points against Beloit to take the early lead. Allyson Yankle and Erin Riutta topped Emeline Beck and Taylor Jones 6-1, 6-3 at No. 2 doubles. Slusarek and Kristyn Klind beat Beloit's Julie Win and Ashley Miglin 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 to earn the win.

Post topped Hannah Perwin at No. 1 singles 7-5, 6-3. Van Handel defeated Erika Zevin 6-2, 6-1 at No. 2 singles. Anna Reardon went three sets at No. 4 singles, the only other match completed, to win 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 and seal the championship.

St. Norbert won its other two MWC tennis championships in 1996 and 1997. Head coach Kathryn Ullman was the No. 1 singles player on those teams, and claimed her first conference title as a coach this season.

The Green Knights will participate as the MWC's automatic qualifier in the NCAA Division III Women's Tennis Tournament next May.