Women’s Tennis hungry for the No. 1 spot

In a year where they have only picked up one loss, the women’s tennis team did again what they do best: win. 

“This is the best, deepest team Minnesota State has had in the last 15 years,” said head coach Jeff Thomae.

With an 8-1 record, the Mavs sit comfortably at No. 2 in the NSIC conference rankings. They sit behind the Augustana Vikings, who have their sights set on moving up to Division I. Their home wins this weekend earned them their fourth and fifth conference wins, besting Minnesota State Moorhead and the University of Mary.

The Mavs have a unique home-court advantage. They play their matches at the Swanson Tennis Center in St. Peter, home of the Gustavus-Adolphus Golden Gusties. 

The Dragons came to town first Friday night, but they left empty-handed. It was all Mavs as they swept the Dragons, not dropping a single match. They began the night by winning all three of the doubles matches. 

Senior Lois Page and sophomore Avery Stilwell, the Mavs’ No. 1 duo, posted a 6-2 victory over the Dragons’ best tennis players. Senior Chiara Carnuletti and sophomore Freia Lawrence won 6-4 in the No. 2 matchup, and freshman McKenna DeMarce and sophomore Elizabeth Felderman took the threes match. 

To complete the sweep, the Mavs took all six singles matches, beginning again with Page. She defeated Shaelyn Johnson 6-3 and 6-1 in the No. 1 singles match. Lawrence took the No. 2 matchup 6-1 and 6-2, while Carnelutti dominated the No. 3 matchup 6-1 and 6-0.

At this point, the Mavs had already secured the win, but Stilwell won 6-0 and 6-0 in the No. 4 matchup. DeMarce claimed the No. 5 matchup 7-6 and 6-4, and Felderman took the No. 6 match 6-4 and 6-1. 

“The toughest part of this season has been that we have so many athletes that deserve to play,” said Thomae. “It’s tough because every day they feel pressure, but that pressure can be good because when they play matches they are used to playing at a high level.”

In their second match of the weekend, the Mavs took on the Marauders. It was not as easy as Friday, but the Mavs still claimed a 5-2 victory. Page and Stillwell, Carnelutti and Lawrence, DeMarce and Felderman swept the doubles matches, and the Mavs claimed the first point.

The Mavs won four of six singles matches Saturday, beginning with Page claiming a 6-3 and 7-5 win in the No. 1 matchup. Lawrence was unable to claim the No. 2 matchup, losing 2-6, winning 6-1 and losing 0-1 in the third set. Carnelutti lost her first set 6-7, but rebounded and won the last two sets 7-6 and 1-0 in a closely contested match. 

Stilwell won her first set 6-2, then lost her second set 7-6 and third 6-1, eventually losing the match. DeMarce got the Mavs back on track, winning 6-4 and 7-6. Sophomore Hana Minisy closed out the weekend in perfect fashion, winning her matches 6-0 and 6-0. 

Following their wins, the Mavs have just five more matches until they head into the conference playoffs.

“We are now through the most difficult part of our season, so we just need to use these last five matches to build confidence and put what we’ve learned into play,” said Thomae.

Moving closer and closer to the playoffs, the Mavs have their sights set on taking down Augustana. But for now, they will be focusing on their next matches in Rogers, where they will take on St. Cloud State and Minnesota Duluth.

“Taking two matches from Augustana has helped our athletes believe that they can do it and that we can do even better than we did before,” said Thomae. “They are hungry to win.”

Write to Hayden Lee at

Header Photo: MSU Women’s Tennis team wins back-to-back matches last weekend in St. Peter, Minnesota against Moorhead Friday, March 24 and UMary Saturday, March 25. (File photo)

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