GV women's tennis team posts 2-2 road trip

By Lucas Rains | 4/13/14 7:47pm

GVL / Hannah Mico. Senior Lexi Rice forehands the ball during Saturday morning's match against Wayne State University; Rice was playing doubles with her partner Carola Orna (junior).

After a 26-day hiatus without competing in an official match, the Grand Valley State University women’s tennis team finally returned to action.

GVSU traveled to Hope College on Thursday for a non-conference matchup before making a trip to Pennsylvania for a trio of non-conference games on Saturday and Sunday. GVSU ousted Hope 7-2, split its games on Saturday and lost a 5-4 contest on Sunday.

“We played some pretty tough competition over the weekend,” GVSU coach John Black said. “With three matches in two days, it’s quite a bit, but it’s going to help us out come regional time in two weeks.”

The Lakers entered the DeWitt Tennis Center in Holland on Thursday as the No. 46 team in the most recent Division II ITA rankings. GVSU dominated the Flying Dutch by taking four out of six singles matchups and sweeping the doubles competition.

Senior Lexi Rice won her singles matchup 7-6 (9-7), 6-4 over her Hope counterpart, and teamed up with junior Carola Orna for an 8-4 victory in doubles. Orna picked up a 6-1, 6-1 win in her singles match, as well.

“We had no easy matches this weekend,” Rice said. “After this weekend, we know what we need to improve on, specifically in doubles, and we can use it as motivation to prepare for regionals.

“I’m proud of how the team competed this weekend.”

Junior Leah Dancz and senior Niki Shipman each won their individual rounds, while the duo of Dancz and junior Kali Phillips rolled to an 8-1 doubles win.

Shipman and junior Morgan Patterson completed the doubles sweep with an 8-5 victory.

“It felt really good to play some tough matches, especially in the warm weather, and I think our team played pretty well,” Shipman said. “Every one of us battled through this weekend and gave 100 percent, even though we didn’t come out on top in all of them.”

The weekend games featured three tough non-conference teams in Pennsylvania.

On Saturday, the Lakers faced off against California University of Pennsylvania and West Liberty University at Rodman Park in California, Pa.

The Lakers were swept 9-0 against No. 12 California, one of the toughest teams in Division II tennis. California featured two ranked players in the Midwest, the No. 11 doubles team.

“They beat us 9-0, but we had quite a few competitive matches,” Black said. “It was a good match for us to help get us ready for the regional tournament coming up.”

GVSU team bounced back against West Liberty later in the day. GVSU took five of the six singles matches and swept doubles competition on its way to an 8-1 win over the Hilltoppers.

Then on Sunday, the Lakers dropped their final game of the regular season 5-4 to IUP.

With GVSU’s regular season coming to an end, NCAA rules force the team to take a break from practice until April 24. The team will then have a week to prepare for the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional, which is scheduled to begin on May 3.

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