St. Thomas women’s tennis players Kara Lefsrud and Bridget Noack earned All-American status this weekend after upset victories in five doubles matches during the USTA/ITA Regional Championships at Gustavus.
Lefsrud and Noack, unseeded, beat the Midwest’s one, two, three and five seeds before beating Carleton’s Anne Lombardi and Michaela Beciche 6-2, 6-3 in the finals Sunday to become the Tommie women’s first All-American tennis players since 1993.
The win qualified the duo for the ITA national championship on Oct. 13 in Alabama, something Noack said she didn’t necessarily expect.
“We went into the tournament expecting to do well, but to be an All-American is just such an accomplishment,” Noack said. “We know so many people who have become All-American and we never knew that we could be one of them.”
For Lefsrud, achieving this level of success was incredible.
“We always thought that we had the potential, but now that it has actually happened, it is just unbelievable,” she said.
Coach Terry Peck said the duo is easy to work with and function well as a team.
“They like each other and like playing with each other,” Peck said.
Peck said three other coaches, including coaches from Wisconsin-Whitewater and Wisconsin-Lacrosse, have approached him, saying they were impressed with Lefsrud and Noack’s teamwork.
With St. Thomas’ new facilities creating a bigger draw for student-athletes, Peck said he believes the university’s tennis program is finally reaching its potential.
“I really feel like now we’re getting back to where we were in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s as far as attracting some of the top athletes,” Peck said.
Fellow women’s tennis player Brittany Alexander said Lefsrud, a junior, and Noack, a sophomore, deserve the honor and agreed that it will be a draw for the program.
“It’s obviously so great for them, and we are all so happy, but it also says great things about the St. Thomas tennis program … it can only help us down the road,” Alexander said.
Noack hopes the honor will attract incoming players.
“We’ve always thought that our Tommie tennis team could accomplish anything,” Noack said. “I think that winning this honor, being All-American and going to nationals will help our program a lot.”
Lefsrud credits her coaches and teammates for her success.
“Our coaching staff and all of the support from the teammates, we could definitely not achieve any of this without them,” Lefsrud said.