Women’s tennis team sweeps WIAC Tourney

By Adam Reed

Oct. 28, 2015

The UW-Whitewater women’s tennis team finished fall competition at the WIAC Championship on Oct. 24 and 25 in Madison, Wisconsin, winning its ninth- straight conference title.

The Warhawks followed up a strong showing last week at the National Small College Championship by winning every last flight in both singles and doubles competition without losing a single set. It was only the fourth time in conference history a team has won all nine of its draws.

Senior captain Megan Humphreys was victorious in No. 1 singles, defeating Katelyn Asfeld of UW-Stevens Point by a score of 6-0, 6-1 in the semifinal, and Bridget Bellissimo of UW-La Crosse by a score of 6-2, 6-1 in the final.

Humphreys was also in action in No. 1 doubles play, teaming up with sophomore Bridgid McGuire to win the title, defeating Bellissimo and Kimmy Mrozek of UW-La Crosse by a score of 8-4.

“I was more excited than nervous.” McGuire said. “Me and my partner Megan [Humphreys] have never beaten LaCrosse in doubles, so we were just going out there with nothing to lose.”

Playing with that sort of attitude was exactly what head coach Frank Barnes had in mind for his players, as he said one of his main focuses for the team was just to be aggressive.

“I think we were playing our best tennis up to this point.” Barnes said. “Every individual on the team is still pretty young…I don’t think anybody has peaked in their career yet. We definitely have a lot of things we can work on.”

As Barnes pointed out, the team is very young. In fact, of the six singles players who won titles at the tournament, only Humphreys is an upperclassman. Barnes said that the performance of their youngest player,

freshman Gabi Kitchell, was especially promising.

“In the No. 2 [singles] final, she [Kitchell] was playing a very strong girl,” Barnes said. “She beat her 6-0,

6-1 in dominating fashion. That was really impressive. She was clicking on all cylinders.”

Kitchell not only won the No. 2 singles title, but she also was part of the duo that took the No. 3 doubles title, teaming up with sophomore Alexandra Talyansky. According to Barnes, the young freshman’s play was a huge factor in the win.

Barnes wasn’t the only one who was impressed with Kitchell. McGuire said she is “a great addition to our team” and pointed to her as having the most outstanding performance of the weekend.

Kitchell said she didn’t feel that any one individual deserves too much credit for their recent success, and also said the key to their dominance has been taking things one match at a time.

“We all know that we want to win and keep the streak going,” Kitchell said. “But you just play your match like you don’t have that streak…just play your match and hope that it turns out good.”

Things have been turning out good a lot recently, as the team will head into its winter break not only extending its conference championship streak, but also continuing a conference win streak that currently sits at 70.

“There’s always the unknown of anybody can win on any given day,” sophomore Alicia Beck said. “We definitely have to come into it with the mindset that we’re here to win, and we are going to put 100 percent into every match no matter the outcome.”

The Warhawks’ streaks are safe for the time being. Competition will resume for the women’s team in the spring at their alumni event on Feb. 27 at home on the Wangerin Courts.

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