Tough opponents yield positive results for women

GVL / Rane Martin
Freshman Kristina Lucus serves

Rane Martin

GVL / Rane Martin Freshman Kristina Lucus serves

Stephanie Deible

Even divided by state lines, the Grand Valley State University women’s tennis team proved this weekend that it can still unite together to turn out the win.

During a weekend when half of the team played in Indianapolis at the ITA Regional Tournament while the other half competed in Chicago at the River Forest Tennis Club Invitational, the Lakers found a way to turn in strong performances.

Four players participated in the regional tournament in Indianapolis, where senior Tara Hayes, who went 2-1 on the weekend, led the team.

“The regional tournament is not flighted, which means the third or fourth best player on one team could be playing the top player from another team,” said GVSU head coach John Black. “We faced some of the top teams in the region this weekend and I was very happy with our performances.”

Hayes, whose lone loss on the weekend came at the hands of the top player in the region, said preparing for a tournament is a little different than a traditional match.

During tournaments, each team member is playing a different opponent, which makes mental preparation key because athletes are competing individually.

“I really enjoyed this weekend because I faced a lot of international competitors,” Hayes said. “They hit and serve the ball harder so it was a good challenge.”

In Chicago, five GVSU freshmen competed against a field full of Division I opponents. Still, the Lakers didn’t let their opponents dictate the level of play or results on the weekend, finishing with a 21-6 record.

“The freshman went out and played extremely tough tennis this weekend, which is only going to help us get better,” Black said. “You don’t get better by beating teams 6-0, 6-0 — you get better by playing tough tennis.”

Leading the way were freshman Morgan Patterson and senior Alyssa Lucas, who both went undefeated during singles play. Freshman Kelly Trapp also turned in solid performances, posting a 3-1 record.

“It was a little intimidating at first playing all Division I schools, but we knew if we played tough, we could compete with anyone,” said freshman Kelly Trapp. “Playing such tough competition helps me believe in myself, and take the mentality of never give up on and off of the court. Hopefully, that is something I can use throughout my life.”

For several of the first year players, this weekend’s competition was the first time they even cracked the lineup.

The solid results posted by the newcomers is not only an indicator that they are capable of competing, but it speaks volumes about the leadership abilities of seniors Katelyn Schaffer, Lucas and Hayes.

Moving forward, GVSU hopes their strong performances against formidable opponents is a good implication that they are headed in the right direction.

The Lakers have three home GLIAC matches this weekend against Lake Superior State University, Michigan Technological University and Hillsdale College.

“Lake Superior and Michigan Tech are going to be tough matches,” Black said. “We just need to continue to play well in singles and elevate our doubles.”

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