GVSU women's tennis beats Wayne State, Hillsdale
Lakers dominate again, improve to 6-0 on the season
The Grand Valley State women’s tennis team lost to defending GLIAC champion Wayne State all three times the teams met last season, but the Lakers got redemption last Friday with a 7-2 win at home.
“It was really validating not just to beat them, but to beat them so decisively, especially with all the freshmen,” said sophomore Alexa Sweeney, who had a chance to win the GLIAC final last year, but came up just short.
The Lakers beat Hillsdale in similar fashion, with an 8-1 win on Saturday.
Doubles play continued to be a strong point for the Lakers, and took a 2-1 advantage into singles. The No. 1 seed pairing of Aimee Moccia and Rachel Sumner won 8-6, and the No. 3 seed pairing of Abby Perkins and Livia Christman won 8-4.
Singles competition was a breeze for the Lakers. The only loss came from the No. 1 seed Perkins, who lost to the Warriors’ Andreea Mitrache in a closely contested match, 4-6, 7-5, 10-3.
Christman won again from the No. 4 seed, defeating the Warriors’ Dasha Kuznetsova 6-3, 7-6 (7-3). The true freshman ended the day undefeated in both singles and doubles play.
Freshman Sam Schrepferman got her first action since her win against Saginaw Valley State earlier this year, and came out on top again from the No. 6 seed, 6-4, 6-0.
The loss was the first of the year for the Warriors, who now stand at 4-1 on the year. After Friday’s win and downing Northwood the week before, the Lakers have handily beaten two serious GLIAC title contenders. The theory that the young Lakers are underdogs is being weakened with every win.
“I think a lot of teams were maybe taking us lightly or thinking we were rebuilding this year, but we’re playing well and getting it done at different spots every match,” head coach John Black said.
GVSU took a 5-0 record into Saturday, and kept up its winning ways against Hillsdale. The Lakers got off to a hot start in doubles play and never looked back, sweeping the Chargers 3-0.
The No. 1 seed pairing of Moccia and Sumner have been successful in their first season together. They won 8-4, their third doubles victory in a row.
After doubles play concluded, rain postponed the match for a little over an hour. Despite this, the Lakers didn’t lose focus and had another strong day in singles play.
“We came out of the rain delay and started the singles strong, and took five out of six. It was a great day for us,” Black said.
Christman suffered her first loss of the season, losing to Hillsdale’s Corinne Prost 6-1 in both sets. It was the only loss of the day for the Lakers. Schrepferman started again at the No. 6 seed in place of freshman Madison Ballard, and won 6-2 in both sets.
No. 1 seed Abby Perkins won a tough first set 6-4. However, after Hillsdale’s No. 1 seed Halle Hyman scored a point in the second set, she defaulted and conceded the match to Perkins due to an illness.
GVSU’s depth has been a big advantage this year, continually getting production out of the bottom half of their lineup. Christman and Sumner, the No. 5 seed in singles, have proven they can be counted on just as much as anyone else at the top of the lineup.
Any doubts about the Lakers’ ability in doubles play were erased this weekend. A question mark going into the year, doubles play has quickly turned into a strength for GVSU, and is a big reason for the Lakers' undefeated season.
“We have a lot of potential to go far,” Sweeney said. “We’re a lot stronger this year than we were last year. Everyone’s hungry for competition, everyone’s happy, and everyone wants to be here, so I feel like that’s really good for us.”
GVSU will be on the road next weekend for the ITA Regional Championships, which begins play on Friday and concludes on Sunday. The Lakers resume conference play on Oct. 3, when they host Tiffin and play Davenport later that day.