The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    Fresh faces push tennis team over UW-Oshkosh

    Renee Rosenow

    There’s nothing like baptism by fire. Just ask some of the youngest players on this year’s women’s tennis team, who had to fill some of the toughest spots on the varsity lineup before they could even test the water.

    First there’s Jackie Gillespie, who was partnered this season with junior Gina Dahl at No.1 doubles. Then there’s Megan Born, who took over at No. 2 singles after Dahl moved up to No. 1. Other freshmen have filled lower spots on the lineup as well.

    But while it’s clear the young team faces a steep learning curve this season, it was the youngest players who helped dismantle a UW-Oshkosh lead Saturday morning to give the Blugolds a 6-3 victory in their first home match of the season.

    Oshkosh got out to an early lead after taking two of three doubles matches. Dahl and Gillespie dropped their match 8-6 and No. 3 partners Born and freshman Emily Hiebl lost theirs 9-7. Juniors Brenna McCormick and Erin Welch were the only Blugolds to claim a doubles win, taking their No. 2 match in an 8-6 set.

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    Dahl beat her singles opponent 6-2, 6-1 and No. 4 Welch won in matching sets of 6-3. Sophomore Michelle Reinders won her No. 5 match 7-6, 6-1.

    And then there were the freshmen, whose two singles victories helped seal the Blugolds’ win. Born moved past her No. 2 opponent in sets of 6-3, 6-1, and No. 6 Hiebl won 3-6, 6-1 and 10-8.

    McCormick, who played No. 3, was the only Blugold to lose her singles match. She dropped hers in matching sets of 6-2.

    “I think (my singles match) went well,” Born said. “I stayed focused, stayed positive and just went out there to win.”

    Born added she is under more pressure this year than she had aniticipated, but said she’s up for the challenge.

    “I like the pressure,” she said.

    The team’s early success didn’t carry over to the afternoon, though. Luther College (Iowa) cut through the Blugolds’ doubles lineup to take an early 3-0 lead and then took four singles matches before both teams called the match at 7-0. Dahl said the teams had agreed to call the game early because of time issues.

    Dahl and Gillespie gave up their doubles match in a close 9-8 set. The No. 2 team lost their match 9-7, and the No. 3 team lost 8-5.

    Dahl lost her singles match in sets of 6-2, 6-4, and Born lost 6-3, 6-4. McCormick lost in three sets of 4-6, 6-4 and 10-8, and Hiebl lost 3-6, 6-1 and 10-5.

    Dahl said she is excited about the season and expressed optimism in the team’s youth.

    “It’s really exciting,” she said. “And especially since this is just the beginning of the year, they’re only going to improve from here.”

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    Fresh faces push tennis team over UW-Oshkosh