Propelled by the play of number one seat Serene Sahar and a cadre of veterans, Lawrence Women’s Tennis is going into their match on Saturday against Ripon with a 5-4-1 record. In match play, they are better than they have been since 1998. The winning record is a welcome triumph for returning players Adriana Teodoro-Dier and Claire Mallory who have been with the team in years past under less auspicious circumstances.
A key factor in their success has been the addition of Serene Sahar, a sophomore, who opted to play tennis instead of soccer this year due to a leg injury.
Sahar, who is 5-5 in both singles and doubles play, credits the individual strengths of each player for getting the team this far.
“Every player on the team has a strong point, whether it be someone’s volley or someone else’s net play. The point is that we all test each other’s weaknesses to make every player stronger,” Sahar said.
Most of last year’s players are back, with the addition of a few freshmen. With Sahar in the number one seat, all other players have moved down a seat, allowing them to play against opponents in more fairly matched competition.
Although the play itself has been more evenly matched, the results have not been. Four of the team’s wins and losses have been at a 7-2 margin or more.
Junior Teodoro-Dier says, “We’re a lot more cohesive as a team, but there are confidence issues. We surprise a lot of teams who expect us to play like last year and we beat them. But against better teams like [UW] Oshkosh we need to go out there like we know we can win, or we get beat.”
Indeed, despite the nearly .500 record and the tie with UW-Stevens Point, most of the wins and losses have been lopsided.
Lawrence faces four more opponents, ending at home on Oct. 11 with Beloit College.
They will face stiff competition this Saturday against Ripon College (7-2), but there is a lot of incentive to play hard. The MWC Championship is Oct.17-19. Furthermore, all current seniors on the team will return as super-seniors next year.
There has been some astounding play displayed on the courts this year, but look for the team to be twice as good next year.