May 6, 2010

By Alex Prewitt
Special to

FALLEN GENERALS: After moving past Emory in the latest Atlantic South Regional Poll into the top slot, Washington and Lee had trouble backing up its No. 1 ranking and its sixth-ranked spot in the most recent ITA top 25 poll, falling to No. 10 Carnegie Mellon, 6-3. It was the Tartans' first-ever win over the Generals.

Leading the way for Carnegie Mellon was led by freshman Alex Tapak at third singles, who was recently named the UAA Women's Tennis Athlete of the Week. After losing the first set, 6-0, Tapak took the second, 6-3, over sophomore Lauren Lukas, and forced a third-set tiebreaker, snatching it 7-6(1) to clinch the team victory.

Both sophomores Laura Chen and Cze-Ja Tam had banner days for the Tartans, winning at first and fourth singles, respectively, in straight sets. The Generals managed only victories in extremely close matches at fifth and sixth singles and second doubles. After finished third in the UAA Tournament, Carnegie Mellon now turns its attention to the NCAA Regionals, beginning on May 14.

UNDEFEATED NO MORE: Eighth-ranked Gustavus Adolphus enters this weekend's MIAC Tournament fresh off its biggest conference win after taking down No. 30 Carleton in a battle of undefeated squads last Saturday. The Golden Gusties earned their 19th straight MIAC regular season title with the 6-3 win and have now won 195 consecutive matches against conference foes, a streak that dates back to 1991.

Despite dropping both first and second singles, Gustavus Adolphus rebounded to snatch the final four singles, all of which came in straight sets. Senior Ali O'Neal, at No. 5, and sophomore Alex Erickson, at No. 6, each won a set, 6-0, while no Golden Gusties player singles winner took a set past 6-4.

Gustavus Adolphus, additionally, took second and third doubles by 8-1 margins, once again rebounding from a loss at the top after Carleton sophomores Kathryn Schmidt and Erin Gudul beat junior Sam Frank and senior Sierra Krebsbach at first doubles.

NESCAC PREVIEW: Tufts is not the only school rolling as the NESCAC Tournament approaches this weekend. Williams recently moved into the top slot in the latest ITA poll, trading spaces with Amherst after defeating the Lord Jeffs in the road last week. The two-time defending champion Ephs, though, will have to go to Amherst again for the NESCAC Tournament to earn their first conference crown since tournament play began in 2006.

Both Williams and Amherst have earned a bye into Saturday's semifinals. The Ephs await the winner of fifth-seeded Bowdoin and fourth-seeded Middlebury. Bowdoin, currently ranked 13th in the nation, limps into the tournament having lost three straight although all three came to nationally ranked opponents, including a 6-3 defeat on April 17 to the Panthers. This will be the second time in three years that the Polar Bears and the Panthers have met in the opening round.

Middlebury heads into this match with the momentum earned on a May 1 loss at Amherst in a 5-4 decision. With two of its three doubles teams ranked in the Northeast Region top 10, the Panthers took two in the doubles slate and fought two singles matches into a third set. Ultimately, though, the Lord Jeffs' deep and experienced unit was too much, as Amherst took four of six singles to snatch the match.

In the three-six matchup at the NESCAC Tournament, meanwhile, No. 11 Tufts, fresh off a six-spot leap in the ITA poll and a 6-3 defeat of the Polar Bears on May 1, will take on Trinity in the first conference tournament meeting between the two squads. The Jumbos are on a hot streak, having won nine of its past 11, with six of the victories coming by 9-0 decisions and their only two losses coming to Williams and Amherst in a four-day span. On April 9, the Bantams fell, 9-0, to Tufts, and it wasn't even close. Both sophomore Jennifer LaCara and senior tri-captain Meghan McCooey, at fourth and second singles, respectively, did not win a game, while only junior Edwina Stewart allowed more than two games in a given set. All told, all six Tufts singles players won in straight sets.

FAST ACES: Fourth-ranked Emory closed out its regular season with a 7-2 victory over Brenau, the No. 12 NAIA school in the country. After falling last week to Chicago in the UAA Championship match, the Eagles rebounded in fine fashion, sweeping doubles and taking fourth through sixth singles to snatch the victory. Emory now awaits its seeding for the NCAA Tournament, beginning next Friday ... Rochester made the biggest leap in the latest ITA top 25 poll, surging into the rankings at No. 20 after being unranked last week. This came after the Yellowjackets finished fourth in the UAA Tournament, beating then 14th-ranked Washington University in the process ... Wash U, meanwhile, fell seven spots to No. 21, while Trinity University tumbled down to No. 28 after being ranked 19th last week.