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RIPON - A couple days after two painfully close match losses in Northern Athletics Conference play, the Lakeland College women's tennis team gained some retribution Tuesday with a 5-4 win over Ripon College in a non-conference match Tuesday afternoon.
The Muskies split six matches at singles and won two of three at doubles to improve to 3-4 overall this season. Lakeland was strong at the top on both sides, winning all of its matches at No. 1 and No. 2 singles and doubles.
An injury to No. 2 singles player Lynn Pipke (Fr.-Greenfield, Wis.) forced many players to move up a notch to play and the Muskies delivered. Jenna Oberthaler (Jr.-Iron Mountain, Mich.) stepped up to No. 2 singles and picked up a hard-earned 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 9-7 win in three sets over Katie Majerowski. Oberthaler also moved up to No. 2 doubles and teamed with Brittany Jurek (Jr.-Gladstone, Mich.) for a 9-8 win over Olivia Wetzel and Alison Thies that included a 12-10 win a tiebreaker.
"I am so proud of Jenna," said Lakeland Head Women's Tennis Coach Casey Carr. "She had to really step up her game. After losing her first set she battled back against a really solid player and won the deciding match for the team. The fact that she had to move up to the No. 2position and to beat a really solid tennis player shows the heart of this team right now."
Jurek also continued her stellar play at singles this year, moving up to No. 4 singles and improving to 6-1 this season in singles matches with a 6-1, 0-6, 10-8 win over Wetzel.
"Brittany did what she has been doing all season long, battle, battle and battle," Carr said. "She is also struck with the injury bug with a really bad neck and back but she just refuses to let up. She is more mentally tough than anyone I have ever coached before. She is a very special type of athlete."
April Schmitz (Sr.-Sheboygan, Wis.) defeated Brittany Sullivan of Ripon 6-3, 6-3 at No. 1 singles and also teamed with Erica Hoffmann (Jr.-Sheboygan Falls, Wis.) to defeat Sullivan and Ellie Hedberg 8-4 at No. 1 doubles. Hoffmann also moved up to No. 3 singles and lost a marathon match to Elizabeth Ake 7-5, 6-7 (5-7), 12-10.
"April played her best match all season," Carr said. "When she plays relaxed there aren't too many people at this level that can flat-out beat her. They might win the match but she's awfully tough to beat when she plays the way she did.
"Erica Hoffmann, though she lost in a really tough match, she also had to move up a spot due to injuries and almost pulled off an exhausting third set tiebreaker. She has helped us so much this season. She stepped up to play a No. 1 doubles match with April and showed zero nerves. She was hitting great groundstrokes and was more aggressive at the net than i have seen from her this year."
Samantha Tonn (Fr.-Wisconsin Dells, Wis.) was defeated at No. 5 singles by Thies by a score of 6-1, 6-0, and Alissa Stephani (So.-Appleton, Wis.) lost to Veronica Myers at No. 6 singles 6-0, 6-1. Ripon's Ake and Majerowski also defeated Stephani and Tonn at No. 3 doubles by a score of 8-1.
Lakeland is back in NAC play Thursday when it hosts Marian University at 4 p.m. at the Sports Core in Kohler.