by Kincaid Norris | Staff Writer
The women’s tennis team traveled down to Linfield College to participate in the yearly ITA regional tennis tournament on Sept 28. Each of the nine conference teams competed for preseason ranks and individual accolades in this multi-day event. Each team gets a specific number of entries for individual players into the main draw based on last years performance. The Bucs wrapped up last year as the fourth-place team and thus get six automatic bids into the singles main draw. The rest of the women’s team who did not get an automatic bid played for wildcard spots on Friday and Saturday in qualifying tournaments.
The women’s season starts in spring, but uses these preseason tournaments to judge where they are and how ready they are for big match-ups.
“The number one thing I’m looking for is the ability to compete. We spend a lot of the fall changing strokes, so I don’t expect excellence in those strokes, but here we can see how well we compete and how well we are prepared for tough, tight matches.” said head coach Rachel Aldridge.
On Friday the qualifying tournament commenced, and sophomore Madelyn Parkey, 21’, won through the tournament and qualified for a main draw bid. The next morning the main draw singles tournament started, and the Bucs came out hot. Avery Liening, 21’, Jill Hughes, 22’, and junior Erica Lee, 20’, all won in straight sets, while Marissa Kirk, 19’, and Grace Bethards, 22’, etched out wins in thirds sets. Grace won 4-6, 6-0, and 10-8 and Marissa triumphed 6-1, 1-6, and 11-9. Later that night the doubles teams of Kirk/Liening and Bethards/Hughes made it to the second round while the team of Lee/Wiley, 19 won their first two matches and made it to the third round.
This is the last time the women’s team will play against NWC opponents until the season starts.
“Overall the team seems really happy about this weekend. We played well enough and found things to work on in this off-season, so we can come out stronger than before.” said Lee.
The Bucs open their spring season on February 16 at UPS.