GVSU women’s tennis places third at GLIAC Tournament

GVL / Emily Frye
Aimee Moccia

Emily Frye

GVL / Emily Frye Aimee Moccia

Mason Tronsor

The 2016 fall campaign for the Grand Valley State women’s tennis team ended abruptly Saturday Oct. 29, as the Lakers fell in the GLIAC tournament semi-finals to Tiffin 4-5.

“Overall I was pleased with the way we played all tournament,” said GVSU coach John Black. “Unfortunately the other team just came out a little bit better than us. I’m still pleased though with our overall level of play.”

After losing to the Dragons during the regular season, the Lakers could not avenge one of their two total loses in conference play. GVSU took home third place after defeating archrival and No. 4 seed Ferris State 5-0. The Dragons would eventually lose in the tournament championship match to host school Northwood 5-1, which finished the fall season undefeated.

The Lakers missed out on an opportunity to qualify for the 2016 NCAA women’s tennis tournament, as the winner of the conference tournament receives an automatic bid. However, they will still have chance to qualify during the winter season.

“I think we definitely came together and are a lot stronger than we were last year,” said GVSU junior Allie Sweeney. “It gives us another year of experience under our belt and since this team isn’t going to change for another year, I think overall we still look at this positively.”

The tournament started out in the Lakers’ favor after they avoided an upset against No. 6 seeded Wayne State. GVSU won two of the three doubles matches to take the lead heading into singles play. After the Warriors’ No. 1 seed tied the overall score up, the Lakers rattle off three straight singles victories to close out the match. Juniors Allie Sweeney and Abby Perkins along with sophomore Livia Christman led the charge for GVSU.

Next up was the rematch against the Dragons. During the regular season, the Lakers fell on the road 3-6 against the No. 2 seed. This time around, the match was even closer.

GVSU entered the match strong, similar to the previous match, winning two of the three doubles matches. Juniors Amiee Moccia and Sweeney led the way as a doubles pair. However, once singles play rolled around, the Lakers did not have an answer against a surging Dragons squad.

The Dragons won the first three singles matches in straight sets, giving them a 4-2 overall lead in the match. Needing to win the final three singles matches to win the entire match, GVSU came up short, winning only two of the three matches.

The Lakers took out their frustrations of losing on the Bulldogs Sunday, Oct. 30 morning as they blew through them in straight matches. Third place is tough to swallow, but a small consolation to finish out the season defeating a rival.

After a nearly undefeated Fall season a year ago and a tournament championship appearance, the Lakers fell short of the high expectations put on their shoulders for this season. However, the season is still not over as the team will regroup for the winter sessions.

“We do a lot of lifting and conditioning in the off-season,” Black said. “We get fitter and stronger in order to start up practice for the spring season.”

The team will not open up spring play until February. This will allow players to rest, regain health and strength, as well as prepare for the upcoming season. The Lakers can still make it to the national tournament with strong play during the spring season.