Tennis beats three WIAC opponents

The women’s tennis team proved it is still the biggest force in the WIAC by notching three victories during the weekend.

Saturday the Blugolds edged UW-La Crosse 5-4 and hammered UW-River Falls 7-2. on Friday Eau Claire handed UW-Whitewater its first setback of the season, 7-2.

“As a team we did very well,” freshman Becky Hollinger said. “This puts us in a pretty good spot going into the conference meet.”

Against La Crosse Eau Claire’s top doubles team of Alison Hover and Jenny Stafford and its No. 2 team of Megan Tauer and Tara Anderson won their tight matches, 8-6 and 8-5, respectively. The No. 3 team of Melissa Huppert and Molly Cadwell suffered its first loss of the season in a 9-8 thriller.

In singles, Hover won the No. 1 match, 5-2, after La Crosse’s Brea Lenart withdrew with an injury. Also earning singles victories were Hollinger at No. 5 and Huppert at No. 6.

The Blugolds had an easier time with its first opponent Saturday, UW-River Falls.

The Blugolds beat the Falcons in every match except No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles. In addition, all five singles wins were in straight sets.

Eau Claire was equally impressive against Whitewater with five straight-set, singles wins and two doubles victories.

One factor that played a huge role in all three matches was the weather. With the exception of the doubles portion of the River Falls meet, players had to deal with the brisk conditions outside.

“Everyone’s hands were numb and freezing,” Hollinger said. “It seemed like whoever judged the wind right had the advantage.”

Coach Tom Gillman said he was satisfied, if not thrilled, with the weekend performance.

“We’re doing a nice job in singles,” Gillman said. “We’re making progress in doubles, but we haven’t clicked on all cylinders yet.”

Even if they’re not in top form, La Crosse coach Bill Hehli believes Eau Claire is the team to beat in the WIAC.

“You don’t lose all the players they had and stay the same, but they still probably have the best two players (Hover and Stafford) at the top,” Hehli said.

The Blugolds (4-0 WIAC, 5-1 overall) will wrap up the WIAC regular season with a match at UW-Stevens Point Friday and a battle at UW-Oshkosh Saturday.