GVSU women's tennis hosts ITA Regionals

Several Lakers competed with some of the top talent in the Midwest

By Mason Tronsor | 9/25/16 10:14pm

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GVL / Emily Frye Sophomore Nikki Heiniger hits the serve during a spring match on April 17, 2016.

by Emily Frye / Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Grand Valley State women’s tennis team put its skills to the test against some of the toughest competition in the Midwest region at the 2016 ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) Regional Championships tournament Sept. 23-25 at multiple locations in the greater Grand Rapids area.

GVSU hosted this year’s tournament as 18 schools entered the field from the Midwest region including teams from the GMAC and GLVC conferences.

Sara Carte

GVL / Sara Carte Grand Valley’s Women’s Tennis coach, John Black, coaches his players between matches against Northwood University on Sunday, September 13, 2015.

The tournament format was set up as a two-match guarantee. If a player or pair of players lost a match, they were sent into the consolation bracket. There were eight total brackets: A-singles (for the top four seeded players on each team), B-singles, A-doubles, B-doubles and consolation brackets for each winners bracket. This tournament was geared toward individual and team regional rankings.

“It will play a huge part in the regional individual rankings,” said GVSU coach John Black. “The teams that did pretty strong will end up pretty high in the team rankings.”

The Lakers had two A-singles players make it to the round of 16. Juniors Alexa Sweeney (No. 2 seed) and Aimee Moccia (No. 4 seed) both advanced to the round of 16. Moccia made it all the way to the quarterfinals before losing. GVSU sophomore No. 1 seed Madison Ballard fell in the round of 32.

“It felt great to go that far in the tournament in the A-draw,” Moccia said. “The point of the tournament for me was to get match play practice. I just worked on things I needed to improve on and it just worked out I got that far.”

GVSU had plenty of representation in the B-singles winners’ bracket. Three players made it all the way to the quarterfinals. Sophomores Livia Christman, Nicole Heiniger and Sam Schrepferman all entered the quarterfinal round without a loss. Heiniger did not move on, while Christman and Schrepferman advanced to face each other in the semi-finals. Schrepferman eventually lost in the finals.

Doubles play was a nuance of the game Black said he wanted to see improvement form the Lakers. The team had mixed results, as GVSU struggled early in the A-doubles competition.

The Lakers' No. 1 A-doubles doubles pair of Ballard and Sweeney fell in the first round. However, the duo made it all the way to the final round of the consolation bracket. On the other end of the spectrum, GVSU’s doubles pair of Moccia and junior Rachel Sumner advanced to the round of 16 before losing.

“We played some good doubles and we played some not-so-good doubles,” Black said. “We are still playing good for a bit but then sloppy for a bit. We need to figure out how we are going to get our best tennis through a whole match.”

The B-doubles brackets were both won by GVSU. The pair of Christman and junior Abby Perkins were victorious in the B-doubles winners’ bracket, while the duo of Heiniger and sophomore Calla Ramont took home the consolation bracket title.

“It was awesome playing and winning with Abby,” Christman said. “Our games compliment each other so well and we have so much fun on the court. We played very good this weekend.”

GVSU now returns to GLIAC play next weekend, and will travel to Hillsdale Saturday, Oct. 1 and Wayne State Sunday, Oct. 2.

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