Women tennis takes second at WIAC tourney

Story by Zack Katz, Staff Writer

Women’s tennis ended their season this weekend with a strong performance in the WIAC tournament hosted at Nielsen tennis stadium in Madison.  As a team, the Blugolds took second place overall, falling just 11 points short of UW-Whitewater’s 62 point victory.

The Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament consists of all seven Division III Wisconsin universities competing in nine individual tournaments divided by position; six singles and three doubles.

The ladies had high hopes entering the WIAC with some seeded players.  Assistant coach Chris Kuna considered momentum a factor early on.

“One of our main goals on day one was to beat our rivals by as much as possible,” Kuna said.

After gaining momentum last weekend with a win against
UW-La Crosse, the Blugolds started on a promising note.

The first day of the tournament left the Blugolds with a commanding lead over teams such as UW-Stout and UW-Oshkosh.

“It was a productive day of tennis, and a nice warm up for Saturday,” Kuna said.

All six singles positions advanced, leaving many in the semifinals for day two.

Saturday presented the Blugolds with the strong side of the WIAC, as five of the six singles positions faced La Crosse, as well as Whitewater. Freshman Jacqueline Cliby believed her team was capable of the challenge.

“We’re a strong team; I knew if we played like it we could win the entire thing,” Cliby said.

As the second place finishers, the Blugolds found a great deal of success.  Both first and second doubles finished as runner-up, while third doubles took third place. Additionally, junior Katie Gillman claimed first place at third singles.

“You can never expect anything when it comes to the conference tournament,” Gillman said. “I felt ready because I had been waiting for this moment for a long time.”

Her readiness was reflected in a 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 victory.

As a singles team, the Blugolds found the most success towards the top of their line up.

“Our one through four positions really stepped it up this weekend,” Kuna said.

Second through fourth won their matches in straight sets, and one singles fought for three sets against Whitewater.

Beyond the Blugolds’ success on court, awards were received at the conclusion of the conference tournament.

Sophomore Maddie Johnson was added to the All-Sportsmanship team, and Senior Taylor Heltne was named the Judy Kruckman Scholar-Athlete.

“The coaching staff was very pleased with our players,” Kuna said.  “We needed some time to get comfortable, and we performed as a result.”

Over the last month, Head Coach Tom Gillman and Kuna said they feel
women’s tennis has shown a great deal of

The women said they believe they have sent a message for their spring season.  With a great deal of success against their rival, La Crosse, and some victories against Whitewater, the Blugolds will begin their spring season ahead of the game.