Women's tennis readies for NE-10 Tournament, hosts Bentley for third straight year
COLCHESTER, Vt. - The Saint Michael's College women's tennis team begins a quest for its first Northeast-10 Conference Tournament title when the postseason begins on Wednesday, as the fourth-seeded Purple Knights host No. 5 Bentley University for a quarterfinal at 2 p.m. on the SMC Tennis Courts.
For the third straight season, Saint Michael's will host Bentley for the No. 4/No. 5 NE-10 Tournament quarterfinal match-up. Each of the last two ended in 5-0 Purple Knight victories, but the teams played to a 5-4 decision during their regular-season meeting on March 31, with the Purple and Gold coming out on top. That match ended up deciding the final seeds, as Bentley finished one match behind Saint Michael's in the standings.
Saint Michael's, which has qualified for three of the last four NCAA Tournaments and currently sits ninth in the NCAA's East region rankings, finished with a 10-3 mark in the NE-10 for the third straight season. By placing fourth in the league standings, the Purple and Gold extended a run of finishing no worse than tied for fourth to 14 consecutive campaigns. Since the NE-10 switched to a team tournament postseason format in 1999-2000, the Purple Knights have been the only team to qualify for the semifinals each season.
By going 12-7 overall thus far, Saint Michael's has recorded at least a dozen victories for the sixth straight year under ninth-year head coach Greg Cluff, whose charges have gone 111-59 in his tenure. The Purple Knights provided Cluff with his 100th career win on Sept. 18.
Freshman Hannah Benoit (Mystic, Conn./Saint Bernard School) is 12-7 in singles, having gone 10-3 in league play, while senior Emily Ogilvy (Bedford, N.H./Trinity) is 11-7 overall and was also 10-3 during NE-10 action. Junior Alex Dalton (South Easton, Mass./Oliver Ames), who studied abroad in the fall, went 8-5 during the spring, while freshman Kayla Dowd's (Longmeadow, Mass./Longmeadow) 6-1 ledger came primarily in the fall.
During doubles action, Ogilvy and freshman Caroline Toutoungi (Weston, Conn./Weston) produced a team-high eight wins, including seven in league action. The Purple Knights have used 12 different doubles pairings, with first-years playing a role in 24 of the 30 victories. Dalton sided with junior Emily Magee (Queensbury, N.Y./Queensbury) to produce a 4-1 showing at the No. 1 position in NE-10 matches.
Saint Michael's is 8-1 all time at home in the postseason, winning its last seven matches, and has won all 11 of its NE-10 Tournament quarterfinal matches.