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Women’s Tennis prepare for conference tournament

Abby+Nielsen+21+competing+for+women%E2%80%99s+tennis%2C+who+are+working+hard+to+try+and+go+one+better+than+last+semester+and+win+the+Midwest+Conference+Team+Tournament.+Photo+contributed.
Abby Nielsen ’21 competing for women’s tennis, who are working hard to try and go one better than last semester and win the Midwest Conference Team Tournament. Photo contributed.
Abby Nielsen ’21 competing for women’s tennis, who are working hard to try and go one better than last semester and win the Midwest Conference Team Tournament. Photo contributed.

By Ray Goedeker
goedeker@grinnell.edu

This past Saturday, the Pioneer women’s tennis team finished their regular season play with a commanding 8-1 win over Coe College. This puts the Pioneers at a 15-8 record as they look forward to the Conference tournament beginning Thursday.

“We did very well, we lost some close matches we could have won, but we were up against some really tough competition who were regionally and nationally ranked. It was great to see that even if we lost, we were competing with some of the best teams,” said Lily Hamilton ’19.

“I think the season went pretty well. I joined in the spring for my last season and it has been great to see the team work so hard and have such great dynamics,” said Judith Fan ’19. She won the number one title for doubles in the Midwest Conference tournament in 2015 and 2016, and placed in second place in the number two singles in 2016.

In the fall of this year, the women’s team ended conference with an 8-1 record, falling only to Lake Forest. Now, as they gear up to play in the Midwest Conference Tournament, the prospect of meeting up with Lake Forest in the final is surely at the back of the team’s mind. Grinnell will first face off against Cornell College, who the Pioneers defeated earlier this season, six matches to three.

“Our goal is to overcome Lake Forest; we want to beat them. We are focusing on getting past the Cornell game so that we can meet up with Lake Forest one more time,” Fan said.

“We set a goal of winning conference, and we did not achieve that, so we are all looking forward to the real goal which is winning the conference tournament and getting to the NCAA Division III tournament. The team has been putting in so much effort and worked so hard in practices recently. Going into Thursday we will try to put forth our best games yet,” added Hamilton. She won No. 5 singles in the Midwest Conference in 2016, and No. 6 and No. 3 doubles in 2017.

Hamilton went four-for-four against her last two opponents, helping herself and the entire squad to build momentum going into their upcoming challenge. Brenda Guan ’20 also impressed against Coe College, winning three of her last four matches.

The team is preparing for their next challenge by focusing on their weaknesses. “Our coach is really pushing us so that we can get a doubles win against Lake Forest because they tend to be bigger hitters. We usually drop a couple matches in doubles, so we are practicing really hard to be ready for that on Thursday,” said Fan.

Last year, the team won the conference tournament and progressed to face University of Chicago, who defeated the Grinnell women five matches to none. This year, the team hopes to have a better showing at the NCAA tournament.

“Performing well at the national tournament is the most important thing to our team. The team has a really positive mood – we just had an incredible week of practices last week, and we are continuing to work hard. There are a lot of demands this time of year with academics and finals approaching, [but] the team is doing a great job of handling all of it and going onto the court extremely focused. We have fought hard this weekend in a way that I have never seen before. It is really great to see,” said Hamilton.

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