GVSU women’s tennis splits two game GLIAC road trip

GVL / Emily Frye
Sophomore Nikki Heiniger hits the serve during a spring match on April 17, 2016.

Emily Frye

GVL / Emily Frye Sophomore Nikki Heiniger hits the serve during a spring match on April 17, 2016.

Mason Tronsor

It’s safe to say the weekend was a tale of two matches for the Lakers. Once again, the Grand Valley State women’s tennis team hit the road for a weekend GLIAC series, this time matching up against two Ohio competitors. The Lakers split the two matches, losing to Tiffin 3-6 Saturday, Oct. 8 and dominated Findlay 9-0 Sunday, Oct. 9.

“We fought really hard this weekend,” said GVSU coach John Black. “Sometimes the other team plays just a little bit better. I think we did learn a lot and I hope we get another shot at the conference tournament.”

GVSU now holds a 6-2 (all against GLIAC opponents) record this season as they currently sit third in the GLIAC standings behind undefeated Northwood and the Dragons. This will be the team’s first home weekend series after six away matches.

The Lakers entered enemy territory Saturday, Oct. 8 tied for second place in the GLIAC with the Dragons. There has been an emphasis on opening up the match strong with solid doubles play. The Dragons chased the Lakers off the court early, thanks to its doubles play as they won two of the three matches in doubles competition.

“I think the most disappointing part was losing the double matches,” said junior Allie Sweeney. “It’s hard going into the singles knowing you are behind and need to win a certain number of games.”

Entering singles competition trailing 1-2, GVSU could have fought back. Instead, the team rolled over and the top four seeds for the Lakers all lost, nixing any possible comeback victory.

After the loss, Black decided to change up the lineup for the next match. Sweeney, usually the No. 2 seed, was not part of the singles lineup. Instead, everyone else in the normal singles rotation moved up one spot, and junior Rachel Sumner was inserted as the No. 6 seed.

“I felt we needed to mix it up,” Black said. “We needed to try some fresh pairings in the doubles. We want to re-evaluate what we are doing to prepare for next weekend.”

Sumner was removed from the doubles lineup and Black also switched around the pairings for the doubles lineup. Sweeney paired up with fellow junior Aimee Moccia instead of sophomore Madison Ballard in the No. 1 seed. Junior Abby Perkins and Livia Christman moved up to the No. 2 seed (they were the only pair to win both doubles matches for the weekend). Ballard and fellow sophomore Nicole Heiniger played as the No. 3 seed.

The Lakers used the disappointing loss and the lineup change to fuel a polished victory the next day. The Oilers were victims of a GVSU team looking to avenge their loss Saturday

This time, the Lakers opened the match strong by sweeping the doubles competition 3-0. Heading into singles competition, the Lakers did not let up. They swept the singles competition as well, only dropping one set.

Up next, the Lakers will finally return home for a weekend series Oct. 15-16 against Walsh and Ashland.

GVSU will need a lot of help if it wants to win or tie for the regular season GLIAC conference title. The GLIAC conference tournament will begin Friday, Oct. 28.