Familiar foes have great chance to see each other in GLIAC tournament
When you think about women’s tennis in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, two teams come to mind: Northwood University and Grand Valley State University. The two schools have met four out of the past five years in the GLIAC Tournament championship, and it wouldn’t be unlikely if they got together to battle it out once again during the tournament this weekend.
“Of course we will be looking forward to a rematch with (Northwood),” said head coach John Black. “We have a lot of work before that can happen. It all begins with Hillsdale in the opener.”
The Lakers claimed the No. 3 seed in this season’s tournament, finishing behind Northwood (14-0 GLIAC play), and Wayne State University (14-1 GLIAC play).
“It’s going to come down to who executes,” Black said. “If we play like we have leading up to this point, we should be ready when the time comes to face them again.”
Earlier in the season, the Lakers seemed to be in a funk when they faced off with Wayne State, which ultimately led to a 5-4 defeat.
“If you think about it, that was a while ago,” said senior Morgan Carney. “We have had a lot of practice since then. That loss doesn’t reflect the talent level of our team.”
Before the Lakers can even begin to think about playing Wayne State or Northwood, they must get past a pesky Hillsdale team.
“We definitely can’t take Hillsdale lightly,” Black said. “You overlook anyone in this conference and your tournament may be a quick one.”
GVSU defeated the Chargers 8-1 just a week ago. That being said, the Lakers will plan to execute in the same way with hopes to getting off to a strong start in this weekend-long tournament.
“A big part of it is controlling our nerves,” said senior Allison Fecko. “We just can’t be nervous out there. When you become nervous that is when mistakes happen.”
The Lakers will be gearing up this week in practice, with extra court time and more focus and attention to the details.
“No days off this week,” Carney said. “Our focus in practice is key this week to our success this weekend. We can’t take anything for granted.”
Coach Black and the Lakers will be looking to defend their GLIAC crown. He noted that every year is different, and you can’t base last year’s success off of this year’s hopes.
“We have a very different team from last year,” Black said. “We lost a lot of seniors, and have several new faces on this year’s team. The same goes for a lot of the schools in the GLIAC, including Northwood.”
A lot is at stake for the Lakers this weekend when they head up to Midland, which includes a GLIAC crown, and an automatic birth in the NCAA Division II tournament. Tournament play begins at 6:45 p.m. at the Midland Community Tennis Center.