The Lawrence University Women’s Tennis team spent last weekend battling it out at the 2014 Midwest Conference (MWC) Championships, hosted at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium on the UW-Madison campus. The Vikings emerged after two days of intense competition without any first place finishes, but a number of notable performances nonetheless.
“It’s a really exciting atmosphere,” said junior Ali Heiring of the conference tournament. “We finally get to go head-to-head individually against all the people we’ve competed against throughout the season. It’s interesting to see how we stack up when we’re all on the same surface in the same environment like that.”
Senior Melissa Heeren led the team with a second place finish at No. 6 singles on Sunday, Oct. 19. In the quarterfinal round Heeren bested Lake Forest junior Emily Raben 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, and moved on to the finals after soundly defeating Carroll sophomore Sam Hoyord 6-0, 6-1. St. Norbert sophomore Ashley Randazzo took down Heeren in the final round 6-1, 2-6, 6-4.
Another notable performance came from senior Tess Vogel, who earned her place in the semifinals in the No. 5 singles spot after trumping Monmouth freshman Cheyenne Groat 6-0, 6-0 in the previous round. Freshman Lindsay Holsen and senior Allison Juda each advanced to the championship quarterfinals in the No. 3 and No. 4 spots, respectively.
Senior Hannah Geoffrey (No. 1) and sophomore Katie Frankel (No. 2) both lost their first matches, but proceeded to charge through the consolation bracket and win consolation titles.
Of course, all the singles competition came after a full day of doubles play on Saturday, Oct. 18. At No. 3 doubles, Heeren and Vogel defeated Monmouth College 8-0 after an opening round bye in order to advance to the semifinals. There they fell 8-5 to the St. Norbert College duo that eventually took first place.
Heiring teamed up with Holsen to win the consolation championship in No. 2 doubles, defeating both Knox College and Beloit College 8-1. At No. 1 doubles, Frankel and Geoffrey posted an 8-3 win over Illinois College before being eliminated in the quarterfinals after falling 8-6 to Lake Forest.
“In review, our season went great. We had some really big wins,” said Heiring, reflecting on a strong fifth place finish overall. “We definitely moved up from last year. The top four attend the conference team tournament in the spring, so we’re only one spot away from competing there as a team.”
Heiring expressed optimistic hopes for the future and positive feelings about the conclusion of the 2014 season. “On behalf of the whole team,” she added, “a big thank you goes out to Adam Busch and David Jumes, our managers, Megan Occhino, our trainer, and Coach Francour for a wonderful season.”