Women’s tennis team falls to Northwood in GLIAC championship

Tate Baker

The GLIAC conference championship run came up just short for the Grand Valley State University women’s tennis team this past weekend. After powering through Hillsdale College and Wayne State University in early round matches, the Lakers eventually fell to reigning champion Northwood, 6-3 in the championship match.

“We really played well all weekend,” said head coach John Black. “Unfortunately, we just couldn’t beat a really strong Northwood team.”

It was GVSU and Northwood’s third-straight meeting in the GLIAC conference championship, with Northwood taking its second-straight title.

“There’s definitely a respected rivalry between (Northwood) and (Grand Valley State University),” Black said.

The Lakers were looking to avenge their two lone regular season losses, those being Wayne State and Northwood. They were halfway there after beating Wayne State in the semi finals, and felt good about their chances heading into Sunday’s championship match.

“This is the best tennis we have played all season,” Black said. “We have to take the positives out of this. Even though we came up a little short against Northwood, I’m still very pleased with our overall performance.”

Northwood’s doubles teams thrived on Sunday as all three doubles teams picked up wins against Grand Valley’s trio of doubles.

“Northwood’s first doubles pair they feature is the best in the conference and they showed that with their play today,” said Black.

Claire Cooper continued her strong season, picking up another win on Sunday by defeating Mariia Avksenenko 6-1, 6-0. This adds to her overall record of 13-3 in GLIAC play.

“She’s been playing really well this whole season,” Black said. “Everyone has been making great improvements which will carry over into the offseason.”

The Lakers will now enter the winter season, with their next scheduled match not being until late February.

“We have a lot of confidence going into the offseason,” said junior Lexi Rice. “We are going to have to keep working and improving so that we’re ready once spring comes.”

The Lakers will now focus in on getting a bid for the national tournament, which comes up at the end of April.

“We really helped our chances by beating Wayne State in the semi-finals,” Black said. “It’s tough to get a bid when there’s only three at large bids per region, picking up that win over Wayne State will help us out a lot.”

The Lakers will try to forget about their 2nd-straight loss in a GLIAC championship to Northwood as they begin their three-month layoff.

Focusing in on the positives and strengthening their weaknesses before then will be key, as they will look to claim an at-large bid in the 2013 National Tournament.

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