‘Hawks Still Undefeated

Sept. 17, 2014 By Ryan Altman

Although it’s too early to predict who will win the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title, UW-Whitewater women’s tennis head coach Frank Barnes likes the direction his team is heading in.

Behind wins in ten of 12 singles matches and five of six doubles matches Saturday at Wangerin Courts, the ’Hawks remained undefeated after beating WIAC foe, the UW-La Crosse Eagles and intrastate opponent, Cardinal Stritch University.

“I’m very impressed [by the early season results] because of the youth of the team,” Barnes said. “Last year’s freshmen have grown up and we’ve beaten some tough teams right off the bat.”

The ’Hawks (5-0, 2-0 in WIAC) won all six singles matches en route to their 8-1 victory over the Eagles. After losing a close doubles match with sophomore Amy Upthagrove, sophomore Megan Humphreys rebounded to pick up a win at No. 1 singles, beating Bridget Bellissimo in three sets, 6-0, 2-6, 6-3.

“[After losing the singles match], I tried to not let that affect how I played in the doubles match,” Humphreys said. “I tried to forget about it and I was able to pull off a win against a good singles player.”

Freshman Bridgid McGuire and senior Amanda Dick also added singles wins for the ’Hawks at No. 2 and No. 3 singles.  This was Dick’s first victory as a ’Hawk after transferring from Division-I Drake University. McGuire and freshman Alicia Beck picked up a win at No. 2 doubles, as did junior Ashley Miller and freshman Jillian Wallace at No. 3.

Against Cardinal Stritch, the ’Hawks received a trio of singles victories in their 7-2 win over the Wolves from freshmen Alexandra Talyansky (No. 3), Beck (No. 4) and Wallace (No. 6).

In doubles, the ’Hawks won all three matches, but two of the three were determined by two games or less. At No.1 doubles, Humphreys and Upthagrove pulled out a tight 9-7 victory, while at No. 2, McGuire and Beck squeezed out a 9-8 (7-3) win after taking a seven-point tie-break. Miller and Wallace picked up a win at No. 3 doubles.

Season outlook

Following their seventh consecutive WIAC title and eighth title in 10 years, Barnes is counting on an infusion of freshmen talent to make up for the loss of six starting seniors on last year’s squad.

Among the six departures was All-American Alexandra Bayliss, who went 21-2 during her senior year at No. 1 singles and holds five individual ’Hawk records, including most combined wins at singles and doubles, most doubles wins and most wins at singles in all flights.

“Alexandra was strong in both singles and doubles,” Barnes said. “What she did on the court and in the classroom is irreplaceable.”

Up next for the ’Hawks is the ITA Regional Championship in St. Peter, Minnesota on Sept. 19.

“I hope to repeat [as champion],” said Humphreys, who as a freshman, beat Bayliss in an all-’Hawk title match at last year’s ITA Regionals. “Personally, my goal is to focus on every match, playing my best and not worrying about the next round.”

In 2013, Humphreys became just the second ’Hawks player to win the USTA/ITA Women’s Midwest Regional Singles Championship.

As a team, the ’Hawks placed all five singles players through to the quarterfinals and three to the semi-finals.

“I think our team is very deep and I wouldn’t be surprised if we also did as well or even better than last year,” Humphreys said.

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