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The Scarlet & Black

Tennis streak ends versus St. Norbert

After five years of winning the Midwest Conference Championship, the Grinnell Women’s Tennis Team lost 4-5 in the first round of the Conference tournament to St. Norbert College on Oct. 16 in Rockford, Ill. The Pioneers finished third and St. Norbert went on to beat Beloit College to claim the tournament title.  

“There were tears shed and there was disappointment,” Head Coach Andy Hamilton said. “But we had a very fine season, we went 15-3 and all is not lost. We did turn around in the individual flight at singles and doubles competition and we played extremely well.”

With the wounds of the St. Norbert loss only an hour old, the women had to play in the third round match against Lake Forest College. They defeated the Forresters 5-2.

“For Lake Forest, we were all down from the previous loss but beaten Lake Forest during the season and we knew that if we went out with clearer heads that we could definitely take home third and win again.” Kelsey Picken ’10 said.

Despite losing the team title, Grinnell had two singles champions and two doubles championships.  Constanza Alarcon ’13 and Tatyana Sukharnikova ’12 won in the No. 3 and No. 4 position respectively on Oct. 18. Sukharnikova’s victory was her second singles championship. Last year she won in the No. 5 division. The doubles team of Alarcon and Catharine Fitch ’13 took first at No. 2 doubles and Kelsey Picken ’10 and Jill Akiyama ’10 won at No. 3.

“I was going to get gold ‘cause last year we got silver and there is nothing more perfect than going and getting gold as a senior,” Picken said.  “Constanza played really well and it was obviously a great win but Tatyana’s match was the most ridiculous thing I’ve seen. It was probably the best match f the whole weekend.”

Hamilton was impressed with the maturity his team displayed after the loss and in the Lake Forest match.

“If our women are able to carry themselves in other parts of their lives under difficult circumstances like they did in the Conference tournament, they’re going to do very well for themselves,” Hamilton said.

The Pioneers will continue their 2009-10 campaign this spring when they play in tournaments over Spring Break. 

“Our two seniors will be focused on finishing off great careers,” Hamilton said. “And we have a nice opportunity to rack a very good record again. I’m sure that each one of our players can say, ‘Hey, I need to work on this, this and this,’ and that will be their focus [this spring].”

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