MONMOUTH, ILL. The Monmouth College women's team started Midwest Conference play with a pair of losses on Saturday. The Scots won a match against perennial champions Grinnell for the first time in over a decade and then lost to Cornell 5-4.
In the Grinnell match, Monmouth got a win for the first time in at least 13 years but lost 8-1. The last 13 matches were 9-0 Grinnell wins but Ivan Stefanova (Streamwood, Illinois) won at No. 1 singles 7-5, 6-4. Natalie Labicki (Antioch, Illinois) lost 6-1, 6-2 at No. 2 singles and Kathi Ramsenthaler (Linz, Austria) went down 6-2, 7-5 at No. 3 singles. Kimber Calvert (Paris, Illinois) lost 6-0, 6-1 at No. 4, Jennifer Shimmin (Monmouth, Illinois) lost 6-2, 6-0 at No. 5 and Julia Mheidze (Springfield, Illinois) lost 6-0, 6-0 at No. 6.
In doubles, Stefanova and Labicki lost 8-4 at No. 1 while Ramsenthaler and Shimmin lost 8-6 at No. 2. Calvert and Mheidze lost 8-0 at No. 3 doubles.
The afternoon match was played at Lakeside Center in Galesburg and Cornell snuck out a 5-4 win. Stefanova and Labicki started the doubles with an 8-3 win and the duo of Ramsenthaler and Shimmin won 8-7 (7) at No. 2 doubles. Cornell took the No. 3 doubles match over Mheidze and Calvert 8-2.
Stefanova lost the first set at No. 1 singles 7-5 but bounced back to win the next two sets 6-0, 6-1 Labicki fell at No. 2 singles 6-4 6-4 and Ramsenthaler won 7-5, 6-1 at No. 3. Calvert had a battle at No. 4 singles but lost 7-5, 7-6 (5). Shimmin fell 6-1 6-0 at No. 5 and Mheidze lost 6-0, 6-0 at No. 6 singles.
"The Scots showed they can compete against some of the strongest players in the conference today," said head coach Brian Dahlstrom. "I was very proud of the adjustments that our team made today and we showed a lot of fight."
The Scots will play at Lawrence and at Ripon next Saturday as MWC play continues. Because of the rain, Saturday's Senior Day ceremony was postponed to October 3 against Illinois Wesleyan.