Women’s tennis claims another WIAC title


UWW Sports

The women’s tennis team secured its 12th straight WIAC title Oct. 21 in Madison. The Warhawks now have 19 overall conference championships and will seek a national title in May.

Alyssa Brooks, Staff Reporter

A winning tradition is an important theme for UW-Whitewater athletics, and the women’s tennis team just added to that.

After completing a dominant fall schedule, the Warhawks went on to win their 12th straight Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title Oct. 21. The tournament took place at Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison where seven UW System schools participated.

Throughout the singles and doubles flights, the Warhawks earned the No. 1 seed giving them a first round bye. In the doubles match, two out of the three pairs came out with a championship win. Senior duo Gabi Kitchell and Julie Martin secured the No. 1 doubles title.

Kitchell, Martin, junior captain Madeline Slicker, sophomore Paige Nierman and freshman Jessica Minkov cruised through their singles matches while sophomore Sabrina Palavra came back in a hard-fought battle. Palavra won 6-4 in the third set after being down 0-3.

In the finals, Kitchell kept rolling and did not lose any of her singles matches. Nierman and Slicker both staged a comeback in their singles matches, as Nierman was down 1-4 and Slicker was down 0-3.

The Warhawks ultimately finished the tournament 20-1 to claim the conference championship. Slicker has been named to the All American Sportsmanship Team for the first time.

“I believe that it is just as important to play well on the court as it is to be respectful on the court,” Slicker said. “It’s an amazing feeling and I believe that all my hard work is really showing.”

Whitewater finished a statement fall season with a 6-0 conference record and a 6-1 overall mark.

Martin noted that hard work and dedication paid off for the squad.

“The whole coaching staff has motivated us every day and they work with us on strategies and how to prepare ourselves before competitions,” Martin said. “We know what it’s like to build a successful program so we put our trust in them.”

After having three seniors graduate from last year’s team, head coach Frank Barnes is impressed with how the underclassmen exceeded his expectations.

“This team has a one-match-at-a-time mentality,” Barnes said. “Even on their free time, they come and practice to get better.”

The Warhawks by winning the tournament have the privilege of hosting the WIAC Final Four qualifying tournament in April to determine which team will represent the conference at the NCAA tournament in May. In addition to the program’s 12 straight conference titles, the Warhawks have 89 consecutive conference match wins, 20 NCAA tournament appearances since 2008 and 19 Athletic All-American Honors.

The spring season begins March 9 with dual matches against Division I opponents Northern Iowa and UW-Milwaukee.