The tennis team began their spring season taking on four different teams in Orlando, F.L. on their spring break trip from Tuesday, March 18 to Thursday, March 20.
The team entered the spring season with an 8-4 record in dual matches.
Weather played a significant factor in the Lady Hawks’ experience.
Originally, the team was supposed to take on Grinnell College on Monday, March 17. The match was halted after the doubles portion as a result of a severe storm that included a tornado warning. The match concluded the following day, Tuesday, March 18 along with another match against William Smith College.
The Lady Hawks were defeated 8-1 by William Smith College in the first of two matches on the day. Fourth-year Captain Paige Munroe was the Hawks’ lone winner against William Smith, at No. 2 singles, winning her match, 6-2, 6-1 in two sets. However, Munroe was defeated 8-5 in the No. 1 doubles-match. Third-year Jessica Schmidt lost at No. 3 singles, forcing a tiebreak with a 6-4 victory in the second set before falling, 11-9, in the deciding frame.
Later that evening, the Lady Hawks concluded their match against Grinnell College and were edged 5-4.
On Wednesday, March 19, the team was defeated 8-1 by the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Munroe was defeated in both the singles and double matches. Schimdt was defeated in singles and doubles.
The Lady Hawks tallied a win in the final match of the four-match schedule sweeping Virginia Wesleyan College 9-0. The Lady Hawks swept the match, winning 8-1, 8-1 and 8-0 at flights one, two and three of doubles, respectively. Munroe won in both her singles and doubles match with partner Jessica Schmidt, 6-1, 6-0. In doubles, Munroe/Devin Tracy won 8-1. Jessica Schmidt/Veronika Paikin clinched the win 8-1.
Head Coach Rob Bruley said the matches over spring break were good, but the team faced some “real tough” competition against four very strong teams.
“Two of those teams, Grinnell, and Wisconsin-La Crosse had already won their conference,” he said. “Unfortunately, a couple of matches went against us. Although, if you look at the scores, it looks like we got beat pretty bad. But when you look at the actual individual scores, the matches were a lot closer. We played really, really well. So this helps us with trying to get an at-large bid for the National Championships in May.”
Munroe said spring break was a blast and the best team trip she has been on in her four years. She said the competition was tough, but it was a good kickstart to the team’s spring season. She said some of the games were a little rusty as the result of it being the Lady Hawks’ first matches of the season.
“We managed to give a good account of ourselves losing in a tight match to Grinnell 5-4 and winning our final match against Virginia Wesleyan 9-0,” she said. “We also had some fun relaxing times as a team playing mini golf, going bowling and day trips to Daytona Beach and Disney World.”
Bruley said all four teams that the team played during spring break have indoor tennis courts on campus, whereas the Lady Hawks do not.
“These girls have been hitting since the first of January, while we just had six sessions indoors in the evening,” he said. “We are kind of playing ‘catch-up’ a little bit. I was very pleased with the way that the team performed. It sets us up for the spring when we can get outdoors.”
Schmidt said she hopes the weather will begin to progressively get nicer so the team will be able to practice outside for the first time this spring.
In the meantime the team trains with athletic trainer Gary Gall, Schmidt said, who keeps the team has been working with since the fall.
Bruley said tennis is not a cold-weather game.
“The problem with going outside is number one, the balls don’t bounce when it’s as cold as this and strings are always breaking,” he said. “They’re just eager to get out. Tennis is so dictated by the weather. Even in the fall, a couple of drops of rain and you have to stop play.”
With a 9-7 record, the Lady Hawks next travel to Schenectady, N.Y. to take on Union College Saturday, April 5 at 1 p.m.