Women’s tennis dominates UM-Duluth

    The team is optimistic going into the rest of the season

    More stories from Luke Alex


    Photo by Gabbie Henn

    Natalie Wijesinghe, pictured here, competed and came out with a 6-0 and 6-2 win.

    The UW-Eau Claire women’s tennis team defeated the University of Minnesota-Duluth in a non-conference match Friday.

    Despite UM-Duluth’s standing as a Division II collegiate team, UW-Eau Claire handed out a dominant 7-2 win at the John and Fay Menard YMCA center.

    “Coming off a tough spring break, we were really proud that we were able to maintain a high level of focus during the match,” third-year captain Natalie Wijesinghe said.

    Wijesinghe and Emily Cooper, a second-year student, led the charge in singles and doubles, starting out with an 8-1 win doubles at the No. 1 position.

    “Me and Emily play really well together,” Wijesinghe said. “We are good friends so that chemistry translates to the court.”

    UW-Eau Claire won all three doubles matches and was 3-0 heading into singles play.

    At the No. 1 singles spot, Wijesinghe quickly blew past her opponent with a 6-0, 6-2 win.

    “I was mentally ready,” Wijesinghe said. “That’s a big reason I won.”

    At number 2 singles, Cooper methodically took care of business, winning her match 6-2, 6-4.

    “I tried to stay focused and stick to my strengths and I guess it worked,” Cooper said.

    The team was impressed with the way they beat UM-Duluth.

    “It’s really cool to be able to beat a good team like UMD,” Cooper said. “It’s definitely a confidence booster.”

    Coming off a spring break trip where the team played a large number of solid teams, they feel more prepared and refreshed, Wijesinghe said.

    “We played a lot of good competition over break which really helped us get into gear and play how we need to play to keep improving,” Wijesinghe said.

    As the season progresses, the team is getting closer and developing chemistry on and off the court, Cooper said.

    “We really learned to come together as a team,” Cooper said. “We have that extra incentive to play well for each other now.”

    Another factor that has contributed to the women’s success this year is the routines and habits they develop in practice, Wijesinghe said.

    “We start off almost every practice with drilling,” Wijesinghe said. “That helps us fine-tune our strokes and technique.”

    The team uses practices to prepare for real matches by playing extensive amounts of practice matches.

    “We do a lot of match-play during our practices which is a really good tool to help us get into match mentality,” Wijesinghe said.  

    Even with the tough schedule ahead, the team believes they can go undefeated for the rest of the season.

    “We are perfectly capable of winning the rest of the matches this season,” Wijesinghe said. “I believe that we can compete with anyone and we aim to put that on the court.”

    UW-Eau Claire women’s tennis has a home match at 2 p.m. on April 14 at the John and Fay YMCA Menard Center against St. Scholastica.  

    Alex can be reached at [email protected].