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Tennis squads head west

Matt Gilson, Staff Writer

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The men’s and women’s tennis teams traveled to California over Spring Break to take on some of the best teams in the country. The men’s and women’s teams did not fare too well in the win column with the men 0-4 and the women 2-3 on the trip.

Although both teams combined for just a 2-7 record, the results were not too surprising to head coach Frank Barnes who said all the teams they lost to were ranked in the top ten in the country,except one for one of the men’s opponents ranked 12th.

Barnes said that although both teams may not have won like they’re used to, the most important thing the teams will take away from the trip is the experience gained from playing top level competition.

“As a team I think the experience of facing those top 10 teams is definitely going to help us with the rest of our season,” junior Jillian Wallace said. “I think as a team what we took out of that experience was that we are right there in every single match.”

Junior Zane Navratil said the same sentiment was felt on the men’s side.

“Playing better teams gives us an idea of what we need to do to improve,” Navratil said. “It’s nice to win, but teams tend to learn more from their losses. We realized that we can compete with the best teams in the country.”

The men competed in five matches in California, including Whittier College, Tufts College, Irvine Valley College, and Bowdoin College.

The men’s first match was against Whittier where the Warhawks fell 5-4. Next up was Tufts College where the the ’Hawks had a tough time losing 9-0. In the team’s third match the men were defeated once again by Irvine Valley College 8-1. Finally the Warhawks rounded off the trip against Bowdoin College where they lost 8-1.

Despite the tough losses, sophomore Jimmy Engelhart said the Warhawks are determined to learn from the experience.

“We got to see how these teams prepare for matches, how they compete and how they compete together always as a team,” Engelhart said. “We can try to model these things that top teams do well and use them to our advantage.”

Barnes said the men played tough while fighting through a couple of  injuries to some their top performers. Barnes said that two of the team’s top players, Rithwick Rajshekhar Raman and Grant Thompson, were out due to injuries before the trip.

The men will be back in action next week with two matches on April 1 in Indiana against Wabash College in a major regional matchup and Hanover College.

The women’s side battled five teams and finished the trip 2-3.

The Warhawks started the trip 0-3, falling to Bowdoin College and Claremont College 8-1 on March 20, before being shut out 9-0 by Tufts College on March 22.

The Warhawks were able to change the team’s fortunes when they defeated Oberlin College 7-2 in the fourth match of the trip March 23. UW-W finished the day and trip with another victory beating Irvine Valley College 9-0.

Senior Megan Humphreys said the Warhawks may have suffered some big losses, but they were excited to play the high end competition.

“I think we all knew it would be tough, but everyone really stepped up,” Humphreys said. “We were able to keep a lot of the matches close.”

The women’s team will next face off against Elmhurst College and Carthage College on April 1 at home, after a busy spring trip.

On their days off, the teams’ were able to enjoy the California weather and the Los Angeles tourism.

Engelhart said that the team’s favorite activity on their days off was to go to the beaches, such as the famous Laguna, Huntington, and Newport beaches.

Navratil also noted that some of his teammates went to the finals of the Indian Wells professional tennis tournament where they watched tennis legend Roger Federer play.

They saw tourist attractions such as Rodeo Drive, the Hollywood sign, Beverly Hills and the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Wallace said these excursions helped the team bond.

“Doing activities like this also helps us grow as a team and that’s what makes these trips even more special,” Wallace said.

Engelhart said he loved the extra time as well.

“The free days are great because we got to spend time together as a team away from the court,” Engelhart said.

With all of the team bonding and experience gained from the trip, the players and coaches said they hope it propels them to success in the final part of the season.

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The student news site of the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater
Tennis squads head west