Women’s tennis wins three straight after loss
The UW-Eau Claire women’s tennis team began their spring season by winning three of four matches during their Spring Break trip in Hilton Head Island, S.C.
The team lost the first match 5-4 against Allegheny College (Penn.) and won the next three, all by a score of 7-2. After going 3-1 in the matches, the Blugolds improved their record to 11-5 overall on the season.
Coach Tom Gillman said he expected that the players would do their best and he attributed their only loss to nerves.
“In the first match, I think most of the team were slightly disappointed because the match was right there and we were capable of winning it,” he said. “But after that match, our team … actually ended up playing quite well.”
Leading the way for Eau Claire were a duo of players who went undefeated throughout their singles matches.
Sophomore Katie Gillman won all four No. 3 singles matches, with her last one being the closest at 6-4, 7-6.
The other undefeated player during the week was sophomore Lexi DeMario.
Coach Gillman said overall he was pleased with what he saw from DeMario during the week.
“I thought Lexi from the very beginning was ready to play — such a big difference from her freshman year and her sophomore year,” he said. “There’s so much more maturity in her.”
Playing in the No. 6 singles position, DeMario won all of the matches by a considerable amount, with her closest match against Allegheny 6-0, 6-3.
Junior Taylor Heltne competed in the No. 1 singles position all week and successfully won the last three matches after falling in the first one.
She was frustrated after the loss, but put it behind her to focus on the other matches, she said.
“The way my game works, everything needs to fall into place, and that happened, so that was really good,” Heltne said.
Heltne and Gillman also teamed up to comprise the No. 1 doubles team. The duo lost a close first match and then won the last three by a wide margin.
Junior Gretchen Bachmeier was in the No. 2 singles position, and like many of her teammates, barely lost her first match against Allegheny. The defeat was followed by an even closer loss for her in the second match 6-4, 5-7, 5-10.
She was upset about her losses, but said she improved as the week went on and pushed through.
“Always competing at a high level even when you’re not feeling your best is important,” Bachmeier said.
The next matches for the Eau Claire women’s tennis team are on Saturday, against St. Catherine University (Minn.) and Bethel University (Minn.).
Since the team is back playing this season after a long break since the fall, the players feel confident about doing well.
“I always … push for trying to find something to get better at,” Heltne said. “I think as a team we can move forward to work on that.”
Coach Gillman agreed and said the Blugolds will be a tough team to beat.
“Everybody loves to talk strategy,” he said, “but in the end, if you’re focused, if your head’s in the right place, that’s where good things happen.”