Women’s tennis grabs third in WIAC
Last year, current junior Megan Born couldn’t get past senior Amy Siemon of UW-Whitewater in the No. 3 finals. This year was a different story.
On Sunday, Born defeated Siemon 6-3, 6-2 to claim the No. 1 singles WIAC championship in Madison. She helped her team achieve third in the tournament and third in the final conference standings.
Born said that a goal of hers was to win games not matches – let alone a championship.
“It’s pretty amazing,” she said. “I feel like it still hasn’t really hit me yet because I can’t believe it’s real. I really never expected to win.”
Head coach Tom Gillman felt that it was a great accomplishment for Born.
“It’s always exciting to advance people far in the tournament and when you can have a conference champion, that’s really special.”
The overall team winner was Whitewater for the fourth straight year. They had six wins out of a possible nine to run away with the tournament.
The Blugolds lone win was Born, but freshman Katie Gillman was able to take second in No. 3 singles and every other singles player finished in fourth.
Freshman Lexi DeMario was one such player who finished fourth. She ultimately lost to a senior in the No. 6 bracket.
She didn’t think she did too well against her final opponent, but she thought she did well against her opponent from UW-La Crosse despite the loss.
The tournament, DeMario said, made her realize that she has to work on the mental aspects of her game.
“The tournament is a lot more mental than just one match because you get a lot more tired because you’re playing more hours of tennis,” she said. “(Makes you) bounce back from a loss right away.”
The doubles teams struggled compared to the singles teams with the highest finishing tandem of Katie Gillman and sophomore Taylor Heltne taking third in No. 2 doubles. No. 1 team of Born and junior Emily Hiebl finished in sixth, and sophomore Gretchen Bachmeier and freshmen Mary Frassetto were fifth in No. 3 doubles.
Born thought that her doubles team should have won their first game, but they were unable to beat a team that they had already beaten during the regular season.
This was due in part to their opponents improved play.
“We tried to make them really play, and put the pressure on them to hit amazing shots,” Born said. “Those amazing shots that they went for, they actually made every time.”
Coach Gillman thought was happy with how the team performed in the tournament.
“I think we did a good job of hanging in there all the way through the tournament … I think we fulfilled our potential.”
The Blugolds are now off until spring when they will try to qualify for Nationals. They, along with the other teams that finished in the top four will play each other for a chance to go to the national tournament.
Coach Gillman said only one team from the conference will get to go to the tournament. He added that he thought this was a fair system.
The team may not make it, but they certainly have chemistry on their side.
DeMario said this is a team that has no problem playing together.
“I don’t know if it’s normal to be this close as a team, but our team gets along really great.”