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

    Blugolds fall to Warhawks in automatic qualifier

    Posted at 6:50 a.m., Monday, April 26

    In a weekend where a bid for the NCAA Division III tournament was at stake, the women’s tennis team fell short in the end, losing to UW-Whitewater 0-9. However, instead of lamenting about missed chances, the Blugolds celebrated the overall success of the season and finally grabbing a win over long-time rival UW-La Crosse.

    “It was an amazing weekend for tennis,” senior Gina Dahl said, adding that beating La Crosse was one of the biggest goals of the year for the team. “We have four seniors on the team and it was the perfect way to end the last weekend . by achieving the goal we’ve worked toward for a long time.”

    At Saturday’s four-team competition, the women’s tennis team made a 5-3 comeback win over La Crosse. Eau Claire initially got off to a shaky start with wins in only one of the three doubles events. The lone doubles win came from the No. 3 pair of sophomore Megan Born and freshman Taylor Heltne, who beat their Eagle opponents 8-3.

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    “We played as well as we could against La Crosse,” coach Craig Monson said. “I’m so proud of the way we played; we couldn’t have played any better. . (The win) shows how hard we’ve worked this year.”

    Dahl was also impressed with the way the team competed during the match.

    “We played with a lot of heart,” Dahl said. “I’m proud of the team and the way we gave it our all and never gave up.”

    With the win, the Blugolds advanced to the next round of competition. As Whitewater took down UW-Stevens Point 6-0, the Warhawks were the Blugold’s final opponent.

    The match against No. 18 Whitewater started similarly to that of the Eagles. The Blugolds again had trouble in doubles competition, this time failing to win in any of the three matches. The following singles matches weren’t any better for Eau Claire; resulting in a 0-9 loss.

    “They (Whitewater) are a really strong team with a lot of great talent,” Dahl said, adding the Warhawks might have had some advantage by playing at their home club. “We had just played some long, challenging matches against La Crosse so we might’ve come in a little tired, but they are still a tough team.”

    The Blugolds end the season 19-4 overall and with only one loss this spring. Monson said he was impressed with the way the seniors “stepped up and put it all on the court” and how the younger players had improved throughout the year as well. The match with the Eagles was a thrilling way to end the winning season, he said.

    “It’s exciting as a coach to put an exclamation point on the season,” Monson said. “It’s everything a coach could ask for.”

    While the win gives Whitewater the WIAC conference’s automatic entry in the NCAA tournament, Eau Claire still has a chance to participate in the May 25 event by earning an at-large bid. Monson said he doesn’t know the chances of making the tournament, but is just very impressed with the efforts of the Blugolds this season.

    “In the time I’ve been here, this is probably the best shot we’ve had to get the invite,” he said, adding that the win over La Crosse helped the team’s case. “We’re happy where the season ended. We have our fingers crossed.”

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    Blugolds fall to Warhawks in automatic qualifier