The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) had six teams in NCAA Division III National Championships action over the weekend, as the Gustavus men’s tennis team, Carleton women’s tennis team and St. Thomas softball team all concluded their seasons in regional tournaments. Meanwhile, St. Olaf and Gustavus both earned Top-11 finishes at the Division III Women’s Golf Championships.
The Oles – who won their first MIAC title in October at the conference championship meet – earned a top-10 finish, tying for ninth with a team score of 1,277 (+125). The Gusties were just nine shots back in 11th place with a team score of 1,286 (+134). St. Olaf’s Molly Erickson was the MIAC’s top performer, tying for second place with a four-round total of 303, or 15-over-par, just one shot off the individual medalist. Annie Jackson was Gustavus’ top finisher, tying for 24th by shooting a 314 (+26).
Both of the MIAC’s tennis teams earned a victory before falling in their second postseason appearance. The Gustavus men received a first-round bye, and faced the host school from UW-Whitewater in a second-round match Saturday. The MIAC champion Gusties scored a 5-1 win over the Warhawks, taking two of the three doubles matches and scoring singles wins from Juan Luis Chu at No. 3 singles, Joey MacGibbon at No. 5 singles and Bradley Entwistle at No. 6 singles to complete the victory.
However, the Gusties’ tremendous season came to an end Sunday when Washington-St. Louis halted their postseason run, beating Gustavus 5-0. Washington swept the three doubles matches, then got its final two points at the No. 1 and No. 4 singles sports. The Gusties finished 22-8 overall and a perfect 9-0 in MIAC play to claim their 24th-straight regular-season conference title. Gustavus added the MIAC Playoff title to its terrific season last weekend on its home court.
The conference-champion Carleton women’s tennis team traveled to Chicago for Division III regional play, and opened with an impressive 5-0 victory Friday in the Windy City over Grinnell. The Knights swept the doubles matches, then got the final two points needed to win from Erin Gudul at No. 4 singles and Katherine Greenberg at No. 6 singles.
Friday’s victory moved Carleton into Saturday’s second round, the host school and No. 2-ranked team in the nation – the University of Chicago – was waiting. The Knights’ storybook season finally came to an end in a 5-0 loss as Chicago swept the three doubles matches and got the final two points at No. 3 and No. 5 singles. The Knights concluded an amazing season, going 19-6 overall, 10-0 in conference play to capture the MIAC title and a perfect 2-0 to add the MIAC Playoff title last weekend.
The St. Thomas softball team swept the MIAC regular-season and Playoff titles in 2012 to advance to NCAA Tournament play, but the Tommies’ offense was quieted in a pair of low-scoring losses in this weekend’s regional. UST fell 3-0 to Coe Friday in Pella, Iowa, and 2-0 to Luther Saturday to close the books on its great season. St. Thomas finished 37-9 after going 21-1 to take the MIAC’s regular-season title, and adding the Playoff championship a week ago.
Against Coe, Jenna Hoffman had two hits and freshman starter Kendra Bowe allowed just single runs in the first, third and sixth innings, but UST stranded seven runners in the shutout loss. Bowe was good on the mound again, allowing just two runs over six innings, but St. Thomas managed just two hits – doubles from Hoffman and Emily Gregory – as Luther starter Becca Girvan struck out 14 Tommie hitters to eliminate the MIAC’s representative.
The MIAC still has two men’s golf teams ready to compete in the NCAA Championships – St. Thomas and Gustavus – which will take place May 15-18 at Mission Inn Resort at Howey in the Hills, Fla. The 2012 NCAA Division III Baseball Tournament field will be announced Sunday evening, and Outdoor Track and Field selections will be coming up on May 20.