BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- As spring break trips continue through March, women's tennis teams in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) are preparing to begin the heart of the conference schedule in April.
Gustavus is ranked No. 31 while Carleton is No. 34 in the latest Oracle/ITA Division III Women's Tennis Rankings, released on March 7.
Gustavus' Ginger Valentine is the top-ranked singles player in the MIAC, currently sitting at No. 17 in the nation. Hamline's Ali Kopiecki is ranked No. 35. Bethel's tandem of Maggie Riermann and Grace Riermann is ranked No. 10 in the nation in doubles play, while Carleton's Kristina Conrad and Madeline Prins are ranked No. 22.
AROUND THE MIAC
Bethel sophomore Mackenzie Novak helped the Royals pick up their fifth shutout win of the season in defeating Wis.-La Crosse last week. Novak stayed perfect in singles play with a 6-0, 6-3 decision at No. 3 singles. She has now won 10 consecutive sets and has had at least one shutout set in each of her last four singles matches. At the No. 2 doubles spot, Novak and teammate Jill Weinzettel picked up their fourth straight win with an 8-3 decision.
Carleton first-year Jeanny Zhang won in both singles and doubles to help the Knights remain undefeated in MIAC play this season with an 8-1 victory over St. Catherine on March 2. Zhang cruised to a 6-1, 6-1 victory in singles after teaming with Faith Yim on an 8-1 triumph during doubles. She is undefeated in 2019 against NCAA Division III opponents.
Concordia rookie Brianna Bell went 4-1 in five singles matches during the Cobbers' spring break trip to Florida last week to improve her overall record to 6-6 on the year. Bell finished her trip to the Sunshine State with 6-3, 6-3 and 4-6, 6-1, 10-1 victories over Regis and Adrian at the No. 5 spot on March 7.
Gustavus senior Bri Hartmann defeated Hamline's Ali Kopiecki - ranked No. 35 in the nation - 6-0, 6-2 on March 2. Hartmann is 4-2 overall at No. 1 singles this season and 2-0 against conference opponents at the top spot.
Hamline's Ali Kopiecki picked up non-conference victories at both No. 1 and No. 2 singles to close out the month of February. Kopiecki won 6-1, 6-2 at the No. 2 spot against St. Ambrose University and went 6-3, 6-1 at No. 1 against Martin Luther College.
Macalester sophomore Natali Sorajja went 1-1 last weekend against conference opponents, recording her team-leading fifth singles victory of the season with a 6-3, 6-2 win at No. 3 singles against Saint Mary's. Sorajja is 5-2 overall in singles play this year with a 6-1 record in doubles action with Emma Baker as her partner.
Saint Benedict sophomore Mackenzie Schurhamer went undefeated last week to help CSB finish its spring break trip in South Carolina with a 3-0 record. It is the first time since 2010 that CSB has gone undefeated on its spring break trip. Schurhamer won twice at No. 5 singles and once at No. 4 singles, while she and partner Karsen Aune went undefeated at No. 3 doubles. Schurhamer is 6-0 in both singles and doubles play this season.
St. Catherine senior Leah Obert has a perfect 5-0 record at No. 5 singles this season and accounted for the Wildcats' lone point against nationally-ranked Carleton in the March opener. Obert went 6-2, 4-6, 10-8 to claim victory in the No. 5 spot. She has a 3-0 singles record against MIAC foes this season.
Saint Mary's senior Laura Sonday collected her first MIAC win of the season last Saturday with a 6-1, 6-1 victory against Macalester. Sonday also teamed with Colleen Lois for an 8-4 win at No. 1 doubles. The victories put Sonday over the .500 mark (5-4) in both singles and doubles play this season.
St. Olaf's Sabrina Barboza won both her matches at the top positions in the lineup for St. Olaf in a 6-3 win over Luther on February 22. The sophomore paired with Greta Prokosch for an 8-5 win at No. 1 doubles to help the Oles take a 2-1 lead into singles. She then put St. Olaf's fourth point on the board with a 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 win at No. 1 singles.
St. Thomas junior Taylor McLeod improved to 6-0 in both singles and doubles play this season with a 6-4, 6-2 victory at No. 1 singles and 8-1 win at No. 1 doubles against Macalester on Sunday.