Blugold women’s tennis looks to rebound

    After a tough loss to end their season a year ago, Blugold women’s tennis wants to bounce back

    More stories from John Mattison

    Blugold women’s tennis looks to rebound

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    Improving consistently has become the main focus for the Blugolds Women’s Tennis team this fall.  

    After a third place finish in last year’s conference play ending their season abruptly, the Blugolds have a positive vibe heading into this year’s season head coach Tom Gillman said.

    After three senior letterwinners graduated, the Blugolds must rely on their young core, which includes Sarah Henderson, a sophomore who finished her freshman singles season with a record of 19-1.

    Last season, Henderson and Madison Rossebo earned Co-Player of the Year honors, and while losing a Co-Player of the Year in Rossebo can be challenging to overcome,  the Blugolds have confidence in themselves, Gillman said.

    Gillman said he tries not to focus on what they lost last year, but rather is focused on getting the most out of what they have and so far has been impressed with his team in practice.

    Top returners on the team this year include: Colleen McCullough, Sarah Henderson and Paige Kuepers. He said he is especially impressed with Olivia Gallagher, who has an opportunity to move up in the lineup.

    “We have a great group of kids this year,” Gillman said. “Having six returners who work hard and bring positive attitudes is great, but adjusting to new positions and creating chemistry is going to be our biggest challenge.”

    Paige Kuepers, a senior captain and three-time letterwinner said she is ecstatic about this year’s team having six returners and six freshmen trying out, and said it will be interesting to see how the Blugolds take on the season.

    Being a leader and one of the two seniors, Kuepers said that the team’s priority is to be consistent.

    “Having a group of young girls, it’s going to be important to create team chemistry and stay consistent every day at practice,” Kuepers said. “Practicing as if we’re playing in a match is one of our main focuses in order to grow as a program.”

    Last season, the Blugolds finished 7-2 overall and 4-2 in the conference. Building on a young team might seem like a big challenge. However, Kuepers is confident in herself and her teammates,  she said.

    “We lost some close games and matches last year and overcoming those will require a strong work ethic and holding each other accountable,” Kuepers said. “If we stay consistent, I know we will have a strong season.”

    Kuepers mentioned a loss to UW-La crosse (4-5). Gillman is aware of how tough the WIAC conference is, he said. UW-Whitewater and UW-La crosse are two teams that the Blugolds will have to compete with in order to finish towards the top of the conference again, he said.

    “We are going to have to outwork and outfight our opponents this year,” Gillman said. “Having a nationally-ranked team (UW-Whitewater) and a top team in the region in UW-Lacrosse on your schedule is challenging, but with this group of hard-working girls I am excited to see what we can accomplish.”

    Hard work, consistent improvement and focus look are the priorities for the Blugolds this upcoming season, and with a team full of positive players, the sky’s the limit, Gillman said.

    The Blugolds kick off their season at 3 p.m. Friday, September 4 with a non-conference match at Mcphee Physical Education  Center against St. Norbert.