Blugolds Tennis sweeps competition in season-opener

Young core guides Blugolds to dominating win against St. Norbert and UW-River Falls

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Photo by John Mattison

The first match of the season is often challenging for teams head coach Tom Gillman said. However, that was not the case for the Blugolds Women’s Tennis team this past weekend.

The Blugolds started the day with a match against St. Norbert college, a team that last year went 24-8, while going undefeated in their conference (9-0).

Eau Claire’s No.1 doubles team, senior Colleen McCullough and sophomore Sarah Henderson started off strong as they battled and defeated a veteran-led St. Norbert team (8-4), Gillman said.

Meanwhile, senior Paige Kuepers and junior Olivia Gallagher kept the ball rolling as they won a match that required a comeback. Kuepers and Gallagher didn’t let the early deficit affect them Gillman said, as they fought back to a 9-8 win.

Gillman said he was pleased with his teams’ persistence when things didn’t seem to go their way.

“It’s going to be important for us to find solutions when there are problems on the court,” Gillman said. “Not dwelling on a mistake and knowing how to react will be what sets us apart from other teams.”

Junior Amy Orthaus and freshman Molly Sanvik recorded a 8-4 victory in No.3 doubles.

Coach Gillman stated he was impressed with the freshmen’s progression this early in the year.

“Our freshmen have really stepped up this far in the year and no one this year is in a position they were in last year,” Gillman said. “I’m proud of how they’ve come to play and adapted to their new positions.”

In No.1 singles St. Norbert’s Elizabeth Manlick lined up against Eau Claire’s Henderson.

The match was a hard, fought-out duel that resulted in Henderson getting the final say. Henderson won 6-4, 3-6, 10-8, Gillman said.

In the second match of the day, the Blugolds faced conference rival UW-River Falls. They didn’t miss a beat as they went on to sweep the Falcons.

Once again, Henderson starred in No.1 singles as she defeated Kelsey Hochberger 6-0, 6-1. No. 2 singles player Colleen McCullough defeated Molly Deering in two sets 6-1, 6-1.

Senior Paige Kuepers dominated the No.3 singles competition with scores of 6-2, 6-0 over Ebensperger. No.4 singles player Gallagher went on to win over Mendel, 3-6, 6-1, 10-7.

Gillman said freshman Kendra Berry had a dominating performance winning 6-1, 6-0.

The Blugolds will look to keep their winning streak alive when they compete Saturday and Sunday at home against UW-Stout, Wartburg College (Iowa) and UW-Whitewater.