Women's tennis completes Spring Break trip by splitting pair of matches

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - The Saint Michael's College women's tennis team split a pair of 7-2 decisions on Thursday during the final day of its Spring Break trip, falling to regionally-ranked Hope (Mich.) College before downing Bethel (Minn.) University at the Oak Street Community Park. The Purple Knights are 4-5.

Hope, which is 16th in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's (ITA) Division III Central Region poll, improved to 5-1 with its victory. The Flying Dutch claimed all three doubles points, with sophomores Erica Bundrick (Mattituck, N.Y./Mattituck) and Alexandra Sulkin (Ipswich, Mass./Ipswich) coming closest to winning a point for Saint Michael's during an 8-6 loss at No. 2. Junior captains Caroline Martin (Scituate, Mass./Scituate) and Caroline Toutoungi (Weston, Conn./Weston) moved up to No. 1 doubles for the first time as partners and won three points against the eighth-ranked doubles tandem in the Division III Central Region. Junior Kayla Dowd (Longmeadow, Mass./Longmeadow) and first-year Nicole Kellogg (Burnt Hills, N.Y./Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake) lost an 8-4 decision in the third spot.

Bundrick knocked off the 20th-ranked player in the Division III Central Region during singles play, 2-6, 6-2, 10-3, at No. 1, while Sulkin claimed a 6-3, 6-3 triumph in the sixth position. Martin nearly forced a third set at No. 5, suffering a 6-1, 7-6 (10-8) setback, while Kellogg's loss in the second slot was against the 15th-ranked player in Hope's region.

Versus 3-8 Bethel, the squads played singles first, with Saint Michael's taking a 4-2 lead into doubles. Kellogg blanked her opponent in the second position, Bundrick claimed a 6-2, 6-2 win at No. 1, and junior Hannah Benoit (Mystic, Conn./Saint Bernard School) picked up a 6-1, 6-2 triumph in the fourth spot. Sulkin fought to a 6-1, 1-6, 10-4 win at No. 6, while Toutoungi suffered a 6-1, 3-6, 7-5 setback at No. 3.

Martin and Toutoungi clinched the team victory by taking an 8-6 decision at No. 1 doubles, with Toutoungi serving out the win. Bundrick and Sulkin also claimed a narrow 8-6 triumph at No. 2, while Dowd and Kellogg completed the doubles sweep with an 8-4 win in the third position.

The Purple Knights open a three-match homestand next Tuesday versus Saint Anselm College at 3:30 p.m. in a return to Northeast-10 Conference action.