|Same final score, but different results, as Cardinal
women end year with 8-1 win, men fall to Royals
With nothing to play for but pride, the Cardinals put together one of their most impressive performances of the season at the SMU Tennis Center, as the Cardinals cruised to five, straight-set singles wins, and swept all three doubles matches en route to an 8-1 nonconference win over UW-River Falls.
"The St. Olaf match was a tough one to lose," said SMU coach Jeff Halberg, whose team held on to slim hopes of earning a berth in the MIAC Tournament, but were officially eliminated by the Oles with their 8-1 win. "I was a little worried coming in (to Tuesday's match), because I wasn't sure how they would bounce back."
They bounced back quite nicely.
Ann Leeder (Greenfield, Wis.), Val Meschke (Pine River, Minn.), Aubrey Hirsch (Topeka, Kan.), Toni Troumbly (Bovey, Minn.) and Brittney Nielsen (Apple Valley, Minn.) all won in straight sets, dropping just 16 games in the 12 singles sets.
And SMU was equally as impressive in doubles, as Leeder and Sara Clements (La Crosse, Wis.) teamed for an 8-4 win at No. 1, while Brianna Placek (Greendale, Wis.)-Abby Cooper (La Crosse, Wis.) added a 9-8 win at No. 2 and Hillary Framke (Stillwater, Minn.)-Colleen Rademacher (Belgrade, Minn.) were 8-3 winners at No. 3.
"This is a great way for this team to close out the season," said Halberg, whose Cardinals closed out the season with a 10-9 overall mark, while Meschke concluded her stellar sophomore season with a school-record 16 singles wins. "Though we had our ups and downs this year, we finished with a winning record, which is something to be proud of. The team played great from top to bottom (against the Falcons), which is a great way for this season to come to an end and a great way for us to head into next season."
YOU WOULD THINK THAT, FOLLOWING A SEASON-ENDING 8-1 loss to Bethel last Wednesday, Halberg would be disappointed in his men's team's performance.
Just the opposite.
Halberg couldn't be prouder of his squad.
"This team has been battling through injury after injury, and yet, every day they step on the court and give it everything they've got and today was no different," said Halberg, noting that the Cardinals squared off against the conference's No. 3 team without two of their top singles players Steve Grundhoefer (St. Paul, Minn.) and Tom Vollman (Oak Park, Ill.). "It's tough enough to play a team as talented as Bethel when you are at full strength. Without Steve and Tom in the lineup, it made it that much tougher."
Steve Clements (La Crosse, Wis.) picked up the Cardinals' lone win, posting a hard-fought, 6-4, 1-6, 10-8 win at No. 2 singles.
"I couldn't be prouder of the effort this group put forth," said Halberg. "We couldn't seem to shake the injury bug all year it was one nagging injury after another. But even shorthanded, this was a great match, a great way for us to end the season. I know it's a cliche, but this match was definitely closer than the final score."