GVSU women’s tennis beats Walsh, Ashland

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

The weather is beginning to change which means the fall women’s tennis season for Grand Valley State is coming to a close.

The Lakers swept their final GLIAC weekend series with a 6-3 victory over Walsh Saturday, Oct. 15, and a 9-0 win over Ashland Sunday, Oct. 16. GVSU currently sits at third-place in GLIAC standings and at this point cannot ascend any higher.

“Overall it was a solid weekend for us,” said GVSU coach John Black. “Moving forward we hope to make sure everybody is healthy gearing up for Ferris and the GLIAC tournament.”

The weather was cooperative toward the Lakers Saturday, as the GVSU tennis courts finally hosted a GLIAC match after a long road trip. The Lakers opened up strong on their home court winning doubles play 2-1 thanks to the Nos. 2-3 seed doubles pairs of Madison Ballard/Rachel Sumner and Abby Perkins/Livia Christman.

The Cavaliers would not go away easily as they won two of the three singles matches in the Nos. 1-3 seeds. After a tie score of 3-3, the Lakers put the match away with three straight singles victories from their No. 4-6 seed players Aimee Moccia, Nicole Heiniger and Katarina Samardzija.

Moccia and Heiniger have been the anchors for the singles rotation for GVSU this season. They have a 14-2 combined singles conference record, and Heiniger is undefeated in conference play (8-0).

“Last fall I wasn’t really in the lineup,” Heiniger said. “I just worked really hard over the winter through the summer. When I got my chance this year I just tried to play really hard and focus.”

Due to inclement weather, the Lakers were moved to the Premier Athletic Indoor Courts in Grandville, Michigan for their match against the Eagles.

The indoor setting did not stop the Lakers from rolling over the Eagles, who remain winless in the GLIAC. GVSU did not drop a single set in singles competition and swept the doubles with ease, losing a total of two points.

The Eagles match allowed the Lakers to shuffle the lineup and give other players a chance to compete at the same time as allowing usual starters to rest.

“We rotated our lineup a little bit,” Black said. “I gave a few people that were a little sore the day off.”

GVSU will finish its 2016 GLIAC regular season Wednesday, Oct. 19 against rival Ferris State. The Anchor-Bone Classic will make its way onto the tennis courts in Big Rapids, Michigan.

“Ferris is very solid this year,” Black said. “They always play us tough. It’s a rival school, so you can pretty much throw the records out. It’s going to come down to which players handle the pressure better.”

The match will decide seeding for the upcoming GLIAC tournament (Oct. 28-30). Currently, the Lakers would slot in as the No. 3 seed, while Ferris would follow suit as the No. 4 seed. However, one match could easily flip those two. School pride and postseason implications will be on the line.