GVSU women’s tennis sweeps opening weekend 2-0

GVL / Emily Frye
Junior Abby Perkins hits the serve during a spring match on April 17, 2016.

Emily Frye

GVL / Emily Frye Junior Abby Perkins hits the serve during a spring match on April 17, 2016.

Mason Tronsor

Pure domination was the best way to characterize the opening weekend for the Grand Valley State women’s tennis team. The Lakers defeated conference foes Michigan Tech and Lake Superior State by a combined score of 18-0 (6-0 doubles, 12-0 singles).

“We played very solid against Michigan Tech and good enough to get a 9-0 victory today,” said GVSU coach John Black. “We had a little bit of a letdown, but we still played good tennis. But we are going to need to be able to play our A-game start to finish entire weekends.”

The weekend started with some typical adversity for the Lakers, who found out the night before Saturday’s match, they would be playing inside in Grandville instead of outside in Allendale due to weather concerns.

The climatic weather, however, wasn’t enough to slow down the reigning regular season GLIAC champions. The Lakers used virtually the same lineup of players for both matches this weekend, with a couple of exceptions. The No. 5 and No. 6 singles seeds rotated from Saturday to Sunday. The doubles pairs stayed the same both days.

The eight players who played singles through the weekend for GVSU did not drop a set. Two players had matches in which they did not lose one game throughout. One of those was junior Allie Sweeney.

“It’s important for us to head into every single match like we are going to win it 9-0,” Sweeney said. “Obviously that’s not likely every time, but I still think it’s important for us to be intense and play like that is the goal.”

Sweeney only lost six total games in two singles matches this weekend. As the No. 2 singles seed as well as pairing with No. 1 singles player Maddie Ballard as the No. 1 doubles pair, the responsibilities are through the roof for one of the team’s vocal leaders on the court.

Ballard handled both No. 1 spots with grace in the team’s opening weekend.

“Its something that is expected of me,” Ballard said. “I come out here, I play professional, I get it done and that is all there is to it. I just focus on who I am playing and me. It doesn’t matter if I am playing one or if I’m playing in the six spot.”

She defeated former GLIAC Player of the Year Kwang Suthijindawong for the Huskies on Saturday and then battled LSSU’s sophomore No. 1 player Tara Harvey.

The Lakers travel next weekend to face rival Saginaw Valley State and reigning co-regular season GLIAC champions Northwood Sept. 17-18. Some of the Lakers will participate in the Hope College Invitational Saturday, Sept. 16 in Holland, Michigan.

“There are a lot of good teams in the GLIAC and we have a lot of them coming up,” Black said. “We got a great start but we have to keep working hard and keep improving with tough matches approaching.”