Out on a high note

The Blugold women’s tennis team split at WIAC Tournament, ending their season

Story by Trent Tetzlaff, Staff Writer

The old saying “all good things must come to an end”  became a harsh reality for the UW-Eau Claire women’s tennis team this past weekend as they played their final matches of the season.

They finished a strong season Saturday full of wins and a few tough losses, taking third after splitting a pair of matches in the WIAC Tournament at UW-Whitewater.

The Blugolds fell 5-2 to UW-La Crosse in a match filled with tight games to begin the day, but later on came back strong with a 9-0 win over UW-Oshkosh.

Despite the early loss, head coach Tom Gillman said his team didn’t want to quit on the season and wanted to finish on good terms.

“The girls wanted to finish the season on a positive note,” Gillman said. “They were able to come out mindful enough and hungry to finish strong and continue to be a steady and reliable team.”

In singles play, junior Madison Rossebo was the lone Blugold to win both of her matches, competing at No. 5 singles. She began with a 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 win over La Crosse and later went on to win a quick 6-0, 6-1 match against Oshkosh.

Against Oshkosh in their final matches, the two seniors Katie Gillman and Mary Frassetto came up with big wins in both singles and doubles to end their collegiate tennis careers.

Frassetto said since her Blugold tennis career is over, she is going to miss the time spent with her team during matches and at practice.

“What I will miss most are the consistent crazy adventures from every practice and match with the team,” Frassetto said.

In doubles, the pair of  junior Nicole Pothen and sophomore Paige Kuepers won both of their matches at No. 3 doubles, 9-7 against La Crosse and 8-0 over Oshkosh.

Gillman said although his team is losing two of their top players, the depth and experience the underclassmen bring to the table will aid in replacing the seniors.

“We have many players returning, which means a lot of depth we can rely on, which is a delight for a coach,” Gillman said.  “We have faith in all of our players and in the depth, people have emerged, and we enter next year with confidence in people knowing they can play.”

Whitewater qualified to compete in the NCAA Division III Championship for the seventh straight year after their two wins Saturday.

Although the Blugolds were a strong team throughout the season, junior Maddie Johnson said the team has some small areas for improvement as they look toward next season.

“Movement is super important in tennis and we can always improve in that area,” Johnson said. “If you are moving well, you will play well.”

Much was the same for Gillman, he said his team is very smart and coachable, but movement is most important when it comes to the team’s improvement and consistency.

The Blugolds end the season with a 15-4 overall record. However, the future is bright for the team who will only lose two seniors.

“The younger girls now know what it’s like to come so close to something,” Frassetto said. “That hunger will fuel their desire to try even harder as they come back next season.”