Women’s tennis wins in WIAC quarterfinals, falls in semifinals

Head coach nods to a “successful” season

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The Blugolds beat the Titans 9-0 but lost 5-2 against the Eagles in the WIAC Championship on Saturday.

The UW-Eau Claire women’s tennis team entered post-season play in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship on April 24.

In the quarterfinals, the Blugolds won against UW-Oshkosh in a shutout victory on April 24. However, the Blugolds lost to UW-La Crosse in an upset win for the Eagles later that day.

In the first match-up against UW-Oshkosh, UW-Eau Claire won all three sets. Lindsey Henderson, a third-year athlete, and Elaine Franta, a second-year athlete, were dominant in their doubles match. Competing in the No. 1 spot, the pair won 8-2.

Henderson said everyone did well in their doubles matches, which took a lot of pressure off the team for singles. She said they took everything they had learned over the course of the season to propel themselves forward to a win.

“Everyone really took the conference championship to heart,” Henderson said.

Morgan Nelson, a first-year athlete, and Natalie Girard, a third-year athlete, achieved their second consecutive sweep as a pair. They scored 8-0 and competed in the No. 3 spot.

The Blugolds only lost 12 games in doubles against the Titans and only one singles match, outscoring them in 73 matches. The Blugolds were outscored in only 13 matches. 

Alexa Brooks, a third year athlete, and Sydney Presler, a second-year athlete, both achieved 6-0 wins in their singles matches.

The Blugolds beat the Titans with a total score of 9-0 in the quarterfinal round.

In the second match-up of the day, UW-Eau Claire faced UW-La Crosse. The Blugolds lost all three doubles matches and gave up the No. 1 and No. 2 singles matches to the Eagles, ending in a 5-2 loss.

Emily Cooper, a fourth-year athlete, and Presler both won their singles matches, but it was not enough. The Blugolds fell to the Eagles.

Henderson said the outcome of this game was not what the team expected. The Blugolds beat the Eagles 6-3 earlier in the season. Most games were a lot closer than they had experienced previously with the Eagles, she said.

“Doubles…they were a little rough,” Henderson said. 

It was not a good feeling to have lost against the Eagles because the goal is always to beat UW-Whitewater in the finals, Henderson said. 

Henderson said it was windy that day, which may have had an impact on their performance, but she said she does not doubt that everyone tried their best. 

Brian Biernat, the head coach of the women’s tennis team, said he thinks the Eagles wanted revenge after their loss earlier in the season. He said he asked the Blugolds after the game if there was anyone who had not given “100%.” 

“Every player said they laid everything out,” Biernat said. “In that case, we had nothing to be ashamed of,” Biernat said.

This is Biernat’s first season with the team. He said he did not want an undefeated season while just facing the local teams, which they have done in years past.

Biernat said this year they played against schools like Augustana College, Bethel University, University of St. Thomas and Gustavus Adolphus College. 

He said he knew these were really good teams, but told the Blugolds they should know what the best looks like. Three of the four were losses, but he said this is how you “get good.”

“In years past they would win 9-0 in all their local matches and then lose 9-0 against Whitewater,” Biernat said. “We need to start learning from our mistakes.”

Now that the season is over, Biernat said there are some things he is looking forward to for next season. 

There are a number of UW-Eau Claire recruits that have been No. 1 in their schools. With one athlete graduating this spring, Biernat said he will fill her spot and add a couple more athletes to the line-up.

Secondly, Biernat said each player is given a card with a list of things to work on in the off-season. He said he is excited to see who wants it bad enough and will do the extra work.

Plueger can be reached at [email protected]