Lady ‘Golds Split Wins at Weekend Tournament

Story by Eric Larson

The Eau Claire women’s tennis team went one for two during a tournament at the McPhee Physical Education Center on Saturday.

A crowd of about 30 gathered during the chilly morning hours to watch the Blugolds take on Luther College (Iowa) and the College of St. Benedicts (Minn.)

“To be honest, I have only positive things to say about (the Blugolds),” said coach Amanda Zenner. “As the day progressed, I could tell everyone was improving with each match they played.”

The ladies struggled in the beginning match against Luther College, losing 0-9. According to Zenner, however, the team didn’t let the loss get to their heads.

“Luther is one of the top teams in the Midwest – with such tough competition, it’s hard to find success,” Zenner said. “We did well for the level of competition we were up against.”

As the afternoon progressed and the sun began to peak out through the grey clouds, the Blugolds turned their game around, defeating the St. Benedict Blazers 7-2.

In singles play against St. Benedict, the ladies dropped only the no. 5 match.

Junior Megan Born achieved a 6-1, 6-3 victory at the no. 1 singles spot; sophomore Taylor Heltne won 6-2, 6-3 in the no. 2 singles spot; and finally, sophomore Gretchen Bachmeier defeated her opponent 6-4, 6-1 at the no. 4 singles spot.

During doubles, Born and junior Emily Hiebl picked up a victory at the no. 1 spot, and Heltne and freshman Katie Gillman won 8-2 in the no. 2 spot. The no. 3 doubles match was close, but ended up with a Blazer victory of 9-7.

“I think this weekend showed great improvement… it definitely showed we’re out there to fight,” Hiebl said. “We focused on what specifically had to be done.”

When asked what areas the team needed practice in, Hiebl struggled to think of any.

“I don’t really see many areas needing improvement right now,” she said. “We just need to keep working hard – we’re definitely going in the right direction.”

Looking to the future, coach Zenner believes the ladies have a right to be optimistic.

“Tennis is a mental game. I’d say about 40 percent of it is,” she said. “You’ve got to be able to give off that vibe that you’re hard to beat, and we do a great job in doing so.”
The ladies are set to face Stout on Sept. 16 in Menomonie, beginning at 3:30 p.m.