Women’s tennis looks to 2010’s success as 2011 begins

Brady Frederickson

Eric Coulter

Brady Frederickson

Brady Fredericksen

An undefeated regular season, a GLIAC title and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight summed up the best season in Grand Valley State University women’s tennis last year.

With returning players in both singles and doubles, the Lakers will look to build on last season’s finish in 2011.

“I think the team has been working hard over the summer, and they’re going to use what we did last year as something to build on,” said GVSU head coach John Black. “Hopefully those experiences from last year – I know our conference is going to be a lot tougher this year – will help us out.”

The team will look to seniors Tara Hayes and Katelyn Schaffer to set the tone this year. Hayes, the team’s No. 1 singles player, was a second-team All-GLIAC performer last season and will look to build on an injury-plagued 2010.

“I think everyone needs to work on being more consistent on the court and being mentally prepared every match,” said Hayes. “Going out there without being positive, I think that affects everyone’s play.”

Schaffer, who is currently not practicing, will look to pace the No. 2 doubles team and No. 6 singles once she returns to the court. Along with junior Allison Fecko (15-3 at No. 5 singles) and sophomore Lexi Rice (27-1 at No. 4 singles), the team’s depth at singles will be helpful there as well as in the doubles, which Black stresses as the most important improvement for the Lakers.

After the 30-match winning streak helped the Lakers reach the Elite Eight, their season was put to an abrupt end, as the fell 5-1 to Hawaii Pacific. That loss has stuck with the team, and they hope to use it – as well as the successes – to their advantage.

“We definitely are motivated, and we are a little upset about how things ended last year,” said Shaffer, who expects to be back on the court soon. “I think we all knew that we were capable of doing better. That team we lost to, we weren’t far from them, so it definitely makes us more focused in practice.”

The team will start the season at home tomorrow against Findlay. Although the GLIAC season goes through October, the Lakers have their eyes on a GLIAC championship. While they will look to build their singles and doubles play throughout the season, the “second half” of the season – Nationals in May – are also on the team’s mind.

“This season we have a lot more girls so we’re all going to work together to mix a lot of singles and doubles matches up,” said Hayes. “Hopefully, we can come up with a good lineup to dominate.”

[email protected]