LU women’s tennis: Got to keep on moving

Justin Eckl

Despite a disappointing first half, the LU women’s tennis team has won their last two matches, and are looking toward the future. The players agree this has been a trying season for them, but they are nothing if not enthusiastic about next season and the promise their young team carries. The team posted nothing but losses prior to their 5-4 win against Wisconsin Lutheran. They followed that victory with an 8-1 trouncing of Mount Mary featuring a 6-3, 6-0 win by Natalie Fleming, and a 8-3 doubles win by Fleming and freshman Abigail Berling.

Their final three matches are at home, and coming off a two match winning streak, their spirits are high. “We’re feeling pretty good about the rest of the season,” states Berling.

Gina Pirrello, the top-seated player and only senior on the team, adds, “We have to focus. We’re playing against three really tough teams, and the match against Beloit will be especially tough. I think they’ll probably win conference.”

Each woman would very much like to prove that the team’s confidence is not without merit. “We’ve played some really good teams, but I don’t think our record reflects how good our team has been playing,” states sophomore Meadow Brennan.

Despite several injuries, the team has maintained their dedication, and come together to bolster each other. “We’re a pretty close team,” states Pirrello, “I think our personalities bond together a lot better than in years past. A lot of the girls have natural friendships off court.”

The team’s strength lies in its youth. Although they’re only in their earlier stages of realizing their potential, already this is a team with all facets covered.

“We’re a very young team, but we have a good amount of depth. All the girls play hard and we’re all very dedicated,” explains Pirrello. She reflects further, “We only have three returning players. The fact that we’re young is going to help us next year.”

Assistant Coach Asmi Ali adds, “I think a lot of players have improved in their consistency. I think the team was overwhelmed earlier this season. But we’ve had some wins, and spirits have gotten higher.”

However, without doubt, this season has been trying for the LU women’s tennis team. A small number of players did not return and many who did have injuries. Yet, in lieu of this, they have nothing but a charged attitude for what lies ahead.

“You can play top players and not expect to win, but you just go out there and play your hardest,” says Pirrello.

Ali adds, “I think in another year, if we get the recruits we’re supposed to, this team will be a contender.”

And now, as the season winds down, there is a lot that remains in doubt: several players have injuries, some key recruits may not show up next year. But the women on this team all know that creating a winning team can be a long process. They are also confident that their worst days are behind them, and now it is merely a matter of building on top of what is already in place.

Having just come off of a two game winning streak, they are intent on going out on a high note. And, with three matches at home, each player is sure she can turn in solid performances against UW-Stevens Point this Wednesday, as well as Lake Forest on Oct. 5th, and Beloit on Oct. 6th.