Tennis team finds success in final tournament

UW-Eau Claire tennis secures second place in WIAC tournament

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Kaitlyn Zenner

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Tennis team finds success in final tournament

Photo by SUBMITTED

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Photo by SUBMITTED

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The UW-Eau Claire women’s team competed in the WIAC tournament and finished in second place overall with two Blugold athletes winning WIAC championships this past Oct. 26 and 27.

Natalie Wijesinghe, a fourth-year singles player for UW-Eau Claire, was the No. 1 seed for the No. 1 singles in the tournament.

After receiving a bye in the first round, she went up against the No. 4 seed, defeating her opponent 6-1, 6-4. After this victory, Wijesinghe went on to defeat her final opponent 6-3, 6-2 to secure a WIAC championship.

Wijesinghe said one of the most challenging parts of the tournament was staying focused throughout both days of the competition. 

“As a team and as individual players, we really had to make sure we were staying focused mentally,” Wijesignhe said. “We played so many matches within the span of two days that the players get pretty fatigued pretty quickly. The biggest challenge was not letting that become our focus and making sure that we focus on controlling the things that we could control.”

Emily Cooper, a third-year doubles player, agreed saying that Sunday can pose a great difficulty for many players in terms of continuing to give all of their effort.

“When Sunday comes around, we’re all exhausted and we’re starting to get really sore and we have to play another three matches Sunday,” Cooper said. “We had to push through it and try our hardest.”

The Blugolds also had their Nos. 4 and 5 singles players advance to the championship round including Elaine Franta, a first-year athlete, and Alexa Brooks, a second-year athlete. Franta ended up getting defeated 6-3 and 7-5 by her opponent, while Brooks lost 4-6, 6-4 and 11-9.

Wijesinghe said that there was a lot of anticipation throughout the tournament, which only increased as each doubles pair for UW-Eau Claire advanced to the championship round of the WIAC tournament.

“It was a two-day tournament, so the first day that we went in there was a lot of excitement,” Wijesinghe said. “After the first day, it’s mainly a doubles day the second day. We had gotten every single one of our doubles teams into the finals, which gave us a really good shot of winning the tournament, so both days, we were really full of energy.”

Number one doubles team Cooper and Wijesinghe won their final match 8-2, taking home a championship for the Blugolds. At number two doubles, Lindsey Henderson, a second- year athlete, and Franta were defeated in the championship round 8-5.

The No. 3 doubles, made up of Emma Barnd, a second-year athlete, and Brooks, were similarly defeated in the championship round, though they fell to their opponent 8-4.

Despite having multiple players in championship matches throughout the tournament, the Blugolds were not able to beat out UW-Whitewater and ended in second place.

Wijesinghe said she was proud of how the team came into the tournament with energy and effort, working hard to do well in their last tournament of the fall season.

“We played really well,” Wijesinghe said. “Everyone showed up and played hard. We were all really proud of each other and the way that everyone on the team played. We kind of left it all out on the court.”

Zenner can be reached at [email protected]

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