GVSU tennis loses undefeated season to Ferris State
Lakers hold No. 1 seed for GLIAC tournament
Going undefeated seemed to be a forgone conclusion for the Grand Valley State women’s tennis team, which had 12-0 in sight heading into the regular season finale against rival Ferris State on Thursday.
However, the Bulldogs stunned the Lakers 6-3, spoiling GVSU's undefeated season.
“We didn’t have one of our best days against a very solid Ferris team,” said GVSU head coach John Black. “They came out and swept us in doubles, and it’s very difficult to come back from being down in doubles, let alone swept.”
The Lakers (11-1, 10-1 GLIAC) have swept opposing teams in doubles five times this season, but on Thursday, the script was reversed for the first time.
“We fought hard and made the singles matches really tight,” Black said. “I think it was a good learning experience for dealing with adversity. It was good to see after doubles, we still had a lot of fight in us and still gave it our best.”
Abby Perkins and Alexa Sweeney won at the singles No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, respectively, and Samantha Schrepferman won at the No. 6 seed.
Though Livia Christman lost at the No. 4 seed, the Lakers could potentially have won with Aimee Moccia and Rachel Sumner's matches, but the Bulldogs eked out two close wins to get the victory.
Moccia lost to Ferris State’s Lauren Lomax 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), and Sumner lost to Nicole Meylor 1-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3.
Perkins says the 12-0 possibility didn’t distract them on Thursday, and the Bulldogs were simply the better team.
“Obviously everyone wanted it, but no one was like ‘oh my God, we have to win today, we have to go undefeated,’ it (was) more from a reputation standpoint that we wanted it,” she said.
Though GVSU lost the goose egg in the loss column, the team took some positives from the loss. Being undefeated adds pressure, and by losing, the Lakers no longer have the weight of a perfect season on their shoulders heading into the GLIAC tournament on Oct. 23.
“It’s never good to lose, but you can always have positives come out of a loss, and I think that’s going to be the case here where I think it’s going to be a positive for us in the long run,” Black said. “We caught them on their better day, and it’s going to make us really ready to play next weekend.”
Perkins even said the loss has potentially given the Lakers an advantage heading into the most important part of the fall season - an advantage they otherwise wouldn’t have by going undefeated.
“Obviously this would be over a million times worse if we were at tournament and lost to (Ferris State). If we were going to lose, yesterday was the best time,” she said. “I think it gives us an edge. We were used to winning, used to clinching, and at the end of matches it was like ‘oh, we won.’ Now the pressure is off.”
The GLIAC tournament is set to be played Oct. 23-25. The tournament will be held in Midland, Michigan, at the Greater Midland Tennis Center.
GVSU is the No. 1 seed in the tournament, and will face the No. 8 seed, which has yet to be announced. Northwood is the No. 2 seed, but seeds 3-8 have not been determined.
If GVSU is able to win the first round, it will play the winner of the matchup between the No. 4 and No. 5 seed.
Despite losing to FSU, the Lakers are still the favorite to win the conference tournament. GVSU and Northwood are tied for the best record in the conference at 10-1, but the Lakers' win over Northwood gives them the regular season tiebreaker.
If GVSU and Northwood both win their first and second round matches, the two teams will play each other in the final round on Sunday.
Will the Lakers leave Sunday with a GLIAC title? For Perkins, it’s clear-cut.
“I think we can, I think we really can. We had eleven straight matches of winning and we had one bad day, we can’t really count ourselves out for one bad day,” she said. “We had eleven great days and one bad day against Ferris. I think the one bad day is over, and we’re going to have all good days next weekend.”