’Hawks win the weekend

%E2%80%99Hawks+win+the+weekend

By Adam Reed

Oct. 14, 2015

It was a busy week for the women’s tennis team. The week began with back-to-back sweeps at home against Elmhurst College (Illinois) and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh on Oct. 6, and ended with a pair of both singles and doubles titles at the Warhawk Fall Invitational on Oct. 9 and 10 at Wangerin Courts.

The Warhawks swept Elmhurst and Oshkosh in doubles play, winning 48 of 64 total sets played. Singles results were no different, as they swept both opponents without losing a single set.

After defeating Elmhurst and Oshkosh, the attention turned to the Fall Invite, where Whitewater success continued, as the team of junior Megan Humphreys and sophomore Bridgid McGuire took the No. 1 doubles title. Sophomore Alexandra Talyansky and freshman Gabi Kitchell followed it up by winning the No. 2 doubles as well.

Singles play was up to the standard set in doubles, as senior Ericka Williams was victorious in No. 6 singles, and Gabi Kitchell won her second title of the tournament in the No. 1 spot.

Assistant coach Byron Balkin spoke about the team’s mindset, “One of our themes this week was be a competitor first, and then a tennis player second…no matter what, just compete.”

Head coach Frank Barnes has the same coaching mindset.

“It’s all about being able to compete for a long period of time,” Barnes said. “Just be a competitor, throw it all out there, and manage the ups and downs…”

Barnes went on to explain that managing those ups and downs will be key for a team who has had more ups recently, winning the last eight conference championships in a row. Barnes said he is not worried about his team losing its focus because of that string of success. Tournaments like this, he says, are key to staying sharp.

“This weekend is such a competitive environment, every team out here is a highly ranked team,” he said. “We try to prepare them coming into this not to be intimidated, cause a lot of these women are real big hitters…I thought they did that really well, just competing.”

If the Warhawks were intimidated at any point, they didn’t show it, winning four out of the nine flights. Williams shared her coach’s opinion of the tournament, referencing the “tough competition”, but insisted for her it was mental toughness that allowed her to be successful. “I really focused on not giving up…just focused on hitting every ball back,” Williams said.

Talyansky agreed with her teammate, but added that it’s her sense of team spirit that helps her to dig deep.

“Sometimes you can get down on yourself, but then you have to think about your teammate,” Talyansky said. “I want to win this for them.”

No matter what is motivating each individual player, the message from the coaches remains clear, just compete and your game will take care of itself.

“Tennis players don’t always play their best tennis,” Balkin said. “One of the ways they can win a match is just by competing, so we’ve been really stressing that lately, and you know we’ve been seeing a lot of good results.”

The women’s tennis team will join the men’s team as they travel to Sumter, South Carolina, to compete in the national tournament on Oct. 15 through 18.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email