Women’s tennis prepares for conference tournament

After routing UW-Stevens Point 9-0 Wednesday, the undefeated women’s tennis team will have no matches this week as it gears up for the WIAC conference tournament beginning Saturday.

The ‘Golds, still unbeaten this season, are looking forward to the WIAC tournament, coach Tom Gillman said. The Blugolds have won nine consecutive conference titles and are looking to make it an even 10.

The women dominated against Stevens Point, not dropping a single set. And while the contest may not have tested the women very much physically, they were tested mentally in terms of keeping their focus.

“I think it’s a little tougher to stay on task when it isn’t close,” senior captain Alison Hover said. “But the focus part is important.”

Gillman also emphasized the importance of focus and playing well no matter what the score was.

“They know I expect them to play at a high level all the time,” Gillman said. “You can’t reach great things by doing only the minimum.”

Although the women won easily against the Pointers Wednesday, the team didn’t take it easy when it came to how they played their matches.

“I think we all went in knowing we wanted to finish the season strong,” Hover said. “How we do in matches affects conference seeds, and we all wanted to do well because of that.”

Not that the team probably had much to worry about in terms of seeds by the time they played Point. In all but one flight, Blugolds are seeded No. 1 for the conference tournament. That means several byes and a lot of preparation time, Gillman said. What the women do with this time will be key, he added.

“Virtually all our players will be waiting to get on the court,” Gillman said. “How they use that time will be crucial, getting loose, etc.”

Preparation during down time will be the first key to success at the conference tournament, Gillman said.

The second will be for the team to keep fighting even if things don’t go exactly as planned.

In addition to preparation at the tournament itself, this week will be a big one in terms of getting ready, Gillman said.

Part of this was giving the Blugolds last weekend off to rest. This will benefit the women both physically and mentally, he said.

“We’ll get more out of taking a break,” Gillman said. “I think they’ll be in a good mentality to start the week.”

Hover agreed.

“I think everyone will hopefully come back excited to play and finish out the season,” she said.

The team will be able to work on several different areas of the game during practice this week, Gillman said.

Whereas earlier in the season the ‘Golds might have focused on improving doubles play, this emphasis is no longer necessary due to improvements the team has made.

“We really wanted to make sure we worked on (doubles) this year,” Gillman said. “Everyone had a different partner this year. They needed to get acclimated with each other.”

The women have successfully done that. Another factor that will affect their WIAC performance will be the team’s confidence level.

“Confidence is huge,” Gillman said. “If we just have fun with it, we should be fine.”

The ‘Golds will show up ready to play and confident Saturday, Gillman said.

“Getting the weekend off will fire them up to play,” he said. “They’ve been ready all season.”