During the 2008 season the renovated Muhlenberg women’s tennis team recovered its reputation as one of the Centennial Conference elite teams and returned to the playoffs following a one-year layoff.
Magner had her best season as a senior, going 6-6 in singles play in the spring. She was 5-3 in the CC, including a key three-set victory against Washington.
The Mules injected revitalizing fresh blood to their
roster, as four freshmen joined the starting lineup, and positive results followed. Having tied for the uncharacteristic fifth place in the CC in 2007, Muhlenberg came back on the playoff map by finishing in third place with an 8-2 league mark.
The Mules lost two of their first three matches, but the defeats came against nationally ranked opponents – No. 24 Vassar and defending CC champion No. 14 Johns Hopkins.
After the loss to the Blue Jays, Muhlenberg reeled off six successive
triumphs, including five in conference action. During the stretch the Mules either shut out their opponents or limited them to a lone point.
Swarthmore snapped the victorious march, eking out a 5-4 victory, but Muhlenberg rebounded to defeat Franklin & Marshall (7-2) and Washington (5-4) to earn the No. 3 seed in the playoffs.
In a clash featuring the No. 8 and No. 9-ranked teams in the Atlantic South Region, Muhlenberg conceded a 5-2 loss to second-seeded Swarthmore in the semifinal stage of the CC tournament, wrapping up the 2008 campaign with a 9-5 overall record.
In their first year playing as a unit, juniors Jenn Powell and Carly Rotfeld established a formidable partnership at No. 1 doubles and generated a
7-2 CC record, earning All-Centennial Conference honors and reaching the final at the
fall CC Invitational. Powell was also saluted as a singles player as she finished 7-2 in the league and 11-6 overall.
Among Powell’s notable triumphs were a three-set win against the fall CC individual champion and a straight-sets victory against the 14th-ranked player in the region.
The other two pairs, which consisted of freshmen, also demonstrated persistence on the court and a remarkable will to close out conference matches. The No. 2 doubles team of Caitie Druker and Sara Sutker went 7-2 in the CC, while Danielle Winston and Lindsay Schmidt at No. 3 doubles finished with eight victories and two losses in the CC and 15-4 overall.
Druker completed her first season with an impressive 13-5 singles record, including a team-best 8-2 league mark.
Next season, the Mules will keep almost their entire starting lineup with the exception of senior Jacquelyn Magner, who saw significant action as the No. 6 racket.
Relying on veterans Powell and Rotfeld and a sophomore class with playoff experience under its belt, Muhlenberg will be arguably one of the legitimate contenders for the
conference crown when the next campaign starts.