Women’s tennis swings to victory with home court advantage

The Blugolds finished their weekend matches with another win on their season record

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Photo by Sam Farley

Sarah Henderson, a senior tennis player, helped the Blugold women’s tennis fight hard for a victory this weekend at their home court.

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The UW-Eau Claire women’s tennis team took hold of two home victories on Saturday, Sept. 9. The women passed by the Blue Devils in a 9-0 victory at 9 a.m. and an 8-1 victory at 3 p.m. against Saint Benedict at the Mcphee courts.

Captain Molly Stewart, a junior, said the team felt confident going into both matches.

“We had a long tournament in Whitewater the previous weekend, so we got some good match experience there and transferred that energy to the matches,” Stewart said. “We went in confident and it was a great day for tennis.”

The singles matches started off strong and continued the momentum. No. 1 singles player Natalie Wijesinghe triumphed over Linsey Thisius of Stout 6-2, 6-3, and Tessa Rahrick of Saint Benedict 4-6, 6-2, 10-2.

Sarah Henderson, a senior, conquered Katie Kreibich of Stout 6-1, 6-1 as the senior No. 2 singles player and defeated Erin Kolbow 6-1, 6-0 of Saint Benedict.

“Henderson had a really fantastic day,” Stewart said. “She crushed her opponents from Saint Benedict. She was on the gas pedal the whole match and never let up.”

Stewart and Emily Cooper, a freshman, kept up the pace by winning both matches at No. 3 and 4 singles.

Molly Sanvik, a junior, beat Annie Sandry of Stout 6-3, 6-1. Meanwhile, Kendra Berry, a junior, ended the singles day by maintaining an undefeated record for her junior season against Kennedy Kleist of Stout 6-3, 6-0, and Gabbie Noack of Saint Benedict 6-0, 6-0.

Blugold head coach Tom Gillman said he was proud of his team and the steps they took to get where they are this year.

“We’ve been working a lot on the mental game,” Gillman said. “Our doubles have come together pretty quickly as far as chemistry, and we’ve established ourselves as leaders because we have a veteran team.”

The team rallied before going into the doubles matches.

Henderson and Wijesinghe triumphed over Stout as the No. 1 doubles, 8-1. The duo gained momentum and beat Saint Benedict 8-5.

Next on the schedule, Cooper and Stewart played for the No. 2 doubles team. With Stout’s Sandry and Kreibich as their opponents, the final score was 8-4.

In their next match against Saint Benedict, Sandry and Kreibich won 8-4. The No. 3 doubles team, Sanvik and Hannah Zevenbergen, a sophomore, defeated opponents from Stout 8-1 and Saint Benedict 8-0.

Gillman said he was happy with the outcome not only because of the victories but also because of the improvements made throughout the team.

“Sarah and Molly had some struggles last weekend, but they stepped it up and became more consistent,” said Gillman. “Kendra also started off rough but finished strong. So it shows that we are always moving forward and improving.”

Stewart said the team has the best chance at success when they carry on momentum from past matches.

“Our team has been taking pretty big steps forward,” said Stewart. “Coach Gillman has been pushing us to do our best and to take away from the wins and losses and use that in our future matches.”

The Blugolds are currently undefeated with a 3-0 record. They hit the courts once again Sept. 16 against Hamline at 10 a.m. and Whitewater at 3 p.m.