Women’s tennis defeat powerhouse Kalamazoo

Matt Olszewski

Senior Sports Writer

The College of Wooster women’s tennis team defeated the Hornets of Kalamazoo College 5-4 on Saturday Feb. 22 in Kalamazoo, Mich. The Scots climbed to a 4-2 over- all record this season with the win and rebounded from two tough losses against John Carroll University and DePauw University the weekend before. Kathryn Materick ’23 described how their most recent match against Kalamazoo compared.

“Our matches against John Carroll and DePauw did not show the strength of our team. Between nerves, frustration and poor doubles communication, we ended up losing two matches that we at least should have played better in. However, as this weekend’s match shows, we are making improvements and are working towards showing our full strength as a team,” she said.

The Fighting Scots started off by winning five of the first seven matches — enough to decide the match in their favor before the number five and six singles matches even began. In doubles, the number one pair of Ishika Gupta ’23 and Joy Li ’20 lost 8-3; how- ever, Wooster won the other two doubles matches. When asked about what her team has been working on in practice, Li emphasized doubles practice. “For the past week, we’ve been working on adding variations and formations in our doubles. I think it worked really well this past weekend since the variety creates different paces that disturb our opponents’ match-play rhythm,” she said. Shannon Sertz ’20 stated, “We have been focusing a lot on becoming more aggressive doubles players … our communication and net play were key.” She and Laura Haley ’21 emerged victorious 8-4 in the second flight while Materick and Abby Kushner Benson ’23 won 8-3 in the third flight to give the Scots a 2-1 lead heading into singles matches.

Li bounced back in the number one spot, as she defeated her opponent 6-2, 6-4. “Compared to previous matches, I feel that I believe in myself more. By focusing only on myself instead of my opponent’s performance, I can better execute every ball,” said Li.

Gupta won her match in the second slot 6-3, 6-4, and Sertz at number three, after losing the first set 1-6, won the next two sets 6-2 and 6-4 to claim the victory. Sertz, like Li, was asked what she thought she did well individually. “I was able to regroup after my first singles set and execute my initial strategy better. My opponent was fairly consistent, so I took a lot of balls on the rise and gave myself a greater margin for error, focusing on being the player to get the last ball in the court,” she remarked.

At number four, five and six Kalamazoo claimed victory. Materick played number four, Haley five and Kushner Benson six.

Haley says to prepare for the upcoming matches the players will focus on their personal strategies. “We will start to break down each of our games and work on our individual strategy because I think there is room for improvement in singles. We will also continue to work on doubles strategies and play a ton of points to get match ready,” she said.

The Scots will spend the majority of spring break in Hilton Head, S.C. and play some matches against out-of-conference schools. Haley described what the trip is like and what it means to her.

“As always, it’s a great bonding experience and allows us to get plenty of matches in before more conference play when we return,” she said

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