by Kevin Buczek
BELMONT, N.C.-The Barton College women's tennis team rolled to its fifth consecutive win with a 5-2 Conference Carolinas victory over host Belmont Abbey College on Sunday afternoon at Sacred Heart Courts.
The Lady Bulldogs boast a 6-2 overall record while maintaining an unblemished mark in league skirmishes at 3-0. The Crusaders slipped to 0-6 and 0-2.
Sophomore Meredith Pruden – the reigning Conference Carolinas Player of the Week – picked up a pair of wins to highlight play for the Royal Blue and White. Pruden paired with freshman Smiljana Kljajic for a perfect 8-0 win at No. 2 doubles before coasting to a 6-1, 6-1 win at No. 4 singles. Pruden has won all five of her singles and doubles contests during Barton's five-match win streak.
An 8-1 win by the doubles duo of senior Francesca Del Pozo and junior Carolina Fischer gave the Lady Bulldogs a 2-1 lead heading into singles competition.
Sophomore Alicia Lasry and senior Lindsey Frederick lost a close 8-5 bout in the doubles but they each won their singles match to help Barton close out the team triumph. Lasry, who was the league Player of the Week the seven days before Pruden took over the honors, rallied for a dramatic 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 win at the second singles slot. Frederick also went the distance holding on for a 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 conquest at the third position.
Junior Kirstie Jenkins – a Third Team All-Conference selection in 2012 – netted the Crusaders second point with a straight-set victory in the top singles match against Kljajic.
Fischer's and junior Kristy Lievense's singles matches were stopped before completion once the Lady Bulldogs clinched the team victory due to darkness.
Pruden (6-2) leads BC with six singles wins while Lievense (5-0), Lasry (5-2), Fischer (5-2) and Frederick (5-3) all have five singles wins in dual matches.
Barton will have its toughest league test yet on Friday when the Lady Bulldogs host No. 7 Southeast Region ranked Erskine College at 2 p.m.