GV tennis programs compete in ITA Regional Championships


Courtesy / GVSU Athletics

Ermias Stewart, Staff Writer

Grand Valley State University’s tennis teams participated in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) DII Midwest Regional Championships over the course of the past two weeks (Sept. 17-26), as the men’s team traveled to Indiana and the women’s hosted their tournament at home. 

The women’s team experienced a significant delay in their tournament due to inclement weather and were ultimately forced to play indoors instead of outdoors as the tournament is typically played.

In the Draw A women’s doubles bracket, sophomore Estefania Hernandez and freshman Rachel Sam paired up as senior Taylor Barrett and junior Vasileia Griva partnered to face off against opponents in the round of 32. 

Both pairs advanced to the quarterfinals, however, Hernandez and Sam fell 5-8 in the round as Griva and Barrett continued on and advanced to the final round, ultimately falling in a tough 1-6 match.

“Team chemistry is very important for us, especially with having a big group of freshmen,” Barret said. “They did amazing by the way, and I believe in us with all my heart. I love this game and my team, so I think the sky’s the limit.”

Griva commented on the outcome of the double’s tournament, mentioning the adjustments the team had to make while giving praise to her double’s teammate for keeping her calm in tough moments.

“(The competition) was fun,” Griva said. “The weather was hard and tough, and we had to adjust to that. I was a bit anxious, but Taylor was a big help.”

Women’s singles also had several Lakers participating in the Draw A individual championships; senior Olivia Huang, junior Sophia Hanover, freshmen Ana Soteras, Leonie Leister and Ana Romero-Gonzalez.

Huang was the only player to lose in the first round, as the remaining four players each managed to reach the round of 16. Romero-Gonzalez fell to her opponent in the round of 16 as the remaining players moved on to the next round.

Leister and Hanover ultimately faced one another in the quarterfinals with Hanover advancing to the semifinals where she would face Soteras as well. 

Soteras went on to defeat her teammate to advance to the final round where she defeated her opponent in a 6-2 match and was crowned as the Draw A individual women’s champion.

The Lakers had three pairs in the doubles Draw B bracket, Soteras and Huang, Diaz and Hanover, and Leister and Romero-Gonzalez teamed up with one another as Leister and Romero-Gonzalez were the only pair that was unable to get past the first round.

However, the remaining two pairs would fall to their opponents in the second round as Diaz and Hanover lost 8-4 and Soteras and Huang lost in an undeclared final score match.

The Draw B singles bracket consisted of Huang, Leister, Hanover, Soteras and Romero, all of which besides Huang managed to get past the first round.

In the next round, all players besides Romero managed to get past their second opponent as Leister and Hanover faced one another in the quarterfinals (Hanover winning 7-5) to face Soteras in the semifinals.

The freshman would get the best of her teammate this time around as Soteras defeated Hanover in a 6-1 match, pushing all the way to the finals and defeating her opponent 6-2 to be crowned the second individual women’s champion for the Lakers.

On the other side of things, the men’s Draw A doubles bracket had seniors Sebastian Arce and Unai Gonzalez pairing together as seniors Jack Dausman and Sean Miller teamed up as well.

Arce and Amilleta forced their way into the quarterfinals (third round), but fell to their opponent in a demanding 6-8 match. Dusman and Miller didn’t find as much success as their teammates this time out as they lost in the first round, 3-8.

Even though neither of the duos were able to reach the duos finals, the team knows what it’s going to take in order to make a better push in the GLIAC and NCAA tournaments later in the season.

“Being disciplined, having mental toughness, appreciating the time we have on the court and loving what we do,” Arce said.

The Draw B bracket included seniors Ignacio Morera-Lucas and Borja De la Fuente pairing together as well as senior Martin Matov and freshman Patricio Sepulveda teamed up. Unfortunately, neither duo was able to get out of the first round as the first mentioned pair lost 6-8 and the second pair lost their matchup 5-8.

As the men’s team captain, Matov knows the importance of great leadership in order to create a strong team dynamic. In this instance, Matov didn’t hold back on his individual performance and mentioned that he knows he’ll need to step up next time out and reach his full potential.

“I know that I wasn’t playing my best, so I know what I need to work on which sets a good tone for me,” Matov said.

The Draw A individual bracket included four GVSU players, as the Draw B bracket saw the same amount of Lakers.

Miller, Gonzalez, Arce and Sepulveda all stood tall for the Lakers as they each made it past the first round, but Sean would be the only player of the four to make it out of the second round as he lost in the round of 16 in a tough 6-7 loss.

In the Draw B individual bracket, Dausman, Morera-Lucas, Matov and sophomore Ignasi Garros attempted to bring in an individual championship for the Lakers.

Matov and Dausman managed to reach the third round as Garros and Morera-Lucas both lost their first-round matchups, 2-6. Dausman would lose in the ensuing round 2-6 as Matov was able to advance to the fourth round (quarterfinals) where he ultimately lost in a resilient 5-7 match.

The men’s team will make their first home appearance in a single match against Cornerstone University on Friday, Oct. 7 at 5:30 p.m., as both the men’s and women’s teams face Grace College in a single match on Saturday, Oct. 8 starting at 2 p.m.