by Miranda Cloyd
The Pirates broke out of its three-match losing streak with two wins against George Fox and Pacific University last weekend. Whitworth defeated George Fox 8-1 and Pacific 9-0.
Whitworth swept its match against George Fox last Friday, winning all six singles matches and two doubles matches.
Senior Jessi Steele was picked up two wins during the match, winning at both No. 2 singles and No. 3 doubles. In singles, Steele took the win with scores of 6-1, 6-4. According to Steele, this may have been her best match so far this season.
“[I was] being patient and waiting for the shot I could be aggressive on,” Steele said.
In addition to her victory in singles, Steele secured another win with the help of her partner, freshman KC McConnell. Steele and McConnell took the win 8-1.
“We have similar games yet they complement each other,” Steele said. “We both have really big serves. That’s really nice to set up your partner so that they can be at the net to put the return away.”
Though McConnell is not new to the team, the match again George Fox was her first conference match this season. McConnell spent the first part of the season finishing out her year with the women’s basketball team.
“It’s a lot different [compared to basketball],” McConnell said. “You’re by yourself, it’s a singular sport. It’s a different set of skills, but it’s really fun.”
In addition to winning through her partnership with Steele, McConnell secured the win in singles, scoring 6-3, 6-2.
“She had some good groundstrokes,” McConnell said. “I just kept hitting deep and made sure that all of my shots were getting deep into her side of the court so that she had to stay defensive.”
The Pirates gained momentum in their success as they took victory over Pacific last Sunday. The women swept the match, winning all nine points.
Sophomore Saryn Mooney’s match began first and ended last. Playing at No. 1 singles, Mooney was victorious in the end. Though spectators commented on how distractingly vocal she was, Mooney said her opponent’s audible self-talk habits did not faze her.
“I feed off of it when someone gets kind of mad,” Mooney said. “I didn’t find her too distracting.”
Head coach Jo Ann Wagstaff said she was pleased with Mooney’s performance and has appreciated her consistency throughout the season.
“[Mooney] has been such a tough player,” Wagstaff said. “She’s amazed us all year.”
Mooney and her partner, freshman Taylor Pena, experimented with new strategies before taking the win at No. 1 doubles, scoring [8-4?]. According to Mooney, the pair was able to predict their opponents’ serving tactics based on a match played earlier this season.
“On one of the serves we both played back,” Mooney said. “We knew her serve went way out wide so that worked well.”
Whitworth will have a brief rest from conference matches over spring break as they travel to California to compete against universities not played during the regular season.
Contact Miranda Cloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org