Women's tennis seizes early success

By Pat Bicanich | 9/8/13 6:03pm

wtennis

GVL/ Rane Martin
Sophomore Niki Shipman and Head Coach John Black

by Rane Martin / Lanthorn

After practicing against each other constantly, the Grand Valley State University women’s tennis
team was anxious to start its season and finally begin competing against other schools.

The Grand Valley State University women’s tennis team got off to a strong start in Canton, Ohio,
where it swept Malone College 9-0.

“It’s interesting to see different styles of play,” junior Kelly Trapp said. “We get really used to each
other in practice. It’s nice to play someone you aren’t so familiar with and make the necessary
adjustments throughout the match.”

Junior Lexi Rice set the tone at No. 1 singles by defeating Asia Harris 6-1, 6-2. The rest of the
Laker lineup followed suit by winning the next 5 matches while only losing 5 games total. Jumping
out and getting an early lead on opponents is crucial to GVSU’s success.

“Winning the early matches is huge,” Rice said. “It shows the other team that we are focused and
ready to win. Teams see our record and how we come out at the beginning of a match and they get
intimidated.”

Head coach John Black was pleased with the balance his team showed this weekend.

“We are a very deep team and there is very little difference from one to eight in our lineup,” Black
said. “The bottom of our lineup won easier this weekend and the top had some tougher matches.
We have eight players that compete every day and they are pretty much interchangeable. As a
coach, this is a good issue to have.”

Junior transfer Carola Orna competed in the No. 5 singles position and won 6-1, 6-0 in her first
match with GVSU.

In doubles, Rice and Orna won 8-4 in the No. 1 spot, while the other two doubles teams shutout
their opponents 8-0. Strong doubles play has been a point of emphasis for the Lakers this year and
will be one of the keys to their success in 2013.

“I was happy with our doubles play this weekend,” Black said. “Everyone has a new partner so it was
nice to see early success. Doubles will be key if we want to make a run at nationals and the GLIAC
title. We need to be up 2-1 if not 3-0 heading into singles play in order to be successful.”

The Lakers picked up right where they left off on Saturday by defeating Walsh University 7-2. The
Lakers won four of six singles matches and swept the three doubles matches on their way to their
second victory in as many days.

Juniors Leah Dancz and Kali Phillips combined to win 8-6 in No. 1 doubles. GVSU was scheduled to
face off with Lake Erie Sunday morning but the Storm was forced to forfeit because of injury and
eligibility issues.

The Lakers will host Findlay University in their home opener on Friday at 3 p.m. at the GVSU tennis
courts.

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