Going undefeated: Chemistry on GV women's tennis team adds to perfect 8-0 record

Chemistry on GV women's tennis team adds to perfect record

By Louis Ricard | 10/18/17 10:01pm

GVL/ Hannah Zajac-- Madison Ballard plays strong defense for her doubles match on 7 Oct. 2017
by Hannah Zajac / The Lanthorn

Among all the varsity sports teams at Grand Valley State University, only one is 8-0 this season, dominating at home and away since early September. That team, which has seen early season success, is the Grand Valley State women’s tennis team.

The key to their success? Embracing the concept of team in one of the most individual sports ever played. 

Senior Abby Perkins doesn’t believe that there has been a key moment from this season where she knew her team could go the distance, but she believes the reason for her team’s success comes from off-court relationships.

“It doesn’t really have to do with tennis, but our team chemistry is amazing,” Perkins said. “We are all great friends and know each other very well because we’ve played with each other for three or four years.”  

This selfless mentality helped GVSU play at the highest level possible this season. They established their dominance early on, sweeping Davenport University and Purdue University Northwest 9-0 apiece in the first weekend of competition.

Senior Aimee Moccia is setting the bar high for her team. 

“I want us to go 10-0 this season and win the GLIAC conference,” Moccia said. 

To do so, GVSU will have to rely on their strongest asset thus far, their doubles. GVSU’s doubles game enabled them to come out on top in a contested match against Tiffin University this past weekend. The duo that consisted of Perkins and Livia Christman won the third and final doubles game, giving a 2-1 lead to GVSU before heading to the individual matches. After splitting the results, GVSU still came out on top 5-4 thanks to that crucial doubles game.

“We have been excellent in our double games,” Moccia said. “We start the tournaments with doubles, so winning them is important because it can give us an early lead on other teams.”

This year, all the signs point to GVSU coming out on top. Not only has the team dominated, but they have also faced challenges, including those close wins against Tiffin and Wayne State.

“That team chemistry helps us during games because we can hear things like ‘go GV’ on the sidelines,” Perkins said.

Head coach John Black couldn’t agree more. 

“It’s not that we’ve had bad chemistry in the past,” Black said. “It’s that our chemistry is exceptional this year.”

The question remains: How far will that chemistry take the team? In an individual sport where athletes rely on their own strengths, GVSU could surprise many with their unique mentality. They can rely on themselves on the court by playing with confidence and accumulating the wins, and the support they get from their teammates may make the difference in a tightly contested match for a conference championship. 

Regardless, Perkins and Moccia are aware of the clock ticking down the minutes they have left playing wearing the GVSU uniforms, and they intend to make the most off of it.

The Lakers will continue their journey for a GLIAC Tournament Championship trophy against Saginaw Valley State Saturday, Oct. 21, and versus Northwood University Sunday, Oct. 22, at the GVSU tennis courts.

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