The Scarlet & Black

The Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Women’s tennis wins MWC tournament title

Tennis Coach Paige Madara has won won MWC Coach of the Year honors for the third year in a row while leading the team to a successful season. Photo by Andrew Tucker

By Ezra Pine

The women’s tennis team (10–0) closed out their fall season on Oct. 20 by capturing titles in seven out of the nine brackets at the MWC individual tournament. The seven individual titles, five singles and two doubles, are five more than what the team collected last year, and the most they’ve won since 2010.  

 “This year’s team has the mindset that we’re determined and we’re going to do something special, while doing it together and having fun. We’ve just had this positive attitude all year in our matches, which was very apparent in our conference matchups,” Coach Paige Madara said.   

 Grinnell’s singles champs, in order from the two through six slot, were Abby Nielsen ’21, Ali Hickey ’21, Sophia de los Reyes ’23, Izzy Green ’22 and Emma Gaydos ’22. Sabrina Tang ’23 nearly made it a clean sweep in singles for the team, but she lost a tight finals match in her first singles 7–5, 6–4. On the doubles side, Tang and de los Reyes took the number two singles crown 8–5, and Brenda Guan ’20 and Green won the third doubles 8–6.  

 “These victories mean a lot for our spring season. All of us played Lake Forest in the final, and seven out of the nine of us beat them. We’re likely going to play them again in the spring, so it’s definitely a good indication for that. We feel really good headed into our spring season, and hopefully we can go onto nationals,” Hickey said.  

 While the Pioneers had a superb fall season, they’ll have to wait a while before they can continue their dominant run of success. The team will play a bevy of non-conference games in the spring, before playing in the MWC team tournament in late April. They hope to make it past Lake Forest in the MWC, and push for a deep run into the national tournament.   

 “The team is hyped to do something special in the spring. We play a tough schedule, especially on spring break. We face a couple of nationally ranked schools, so we’ll see what we can do. Hopefully we can make a run at nationals next May,” Madara said.  

 This year, the team has been notably boosted by the play of four strong first-year players.   

“Our first-years have helped a ton. They came in with a lot of energy, are very cohesive, and have helped bring the team together. They’re all very strong players, and are going to contribute all four years. Everyone’s really excited for the four of them,” Hickey said.  

 Leading the charge is Tang, who won the MWC Newcomer of the Year Award. Tang went 13–2 playing in the number one singles slot this fall, and posted an impressive 12–1 record in doubles play.  

 “I was pretty surprised when I won the award, but it was great to be acknowledged for my performance this season. My team was a big part of it, because they’re always there to hit with me. Even outside of tennis, they’ve really helped me settle into college,” Tang said.   

 “Sabrina had a great fall. She works hard, competes really well, and is continuing to grow her game. I think she’s someone who people will definitely want to keep an eye on for the next couple of years. She still has a lot she can work on in her game, but she’s already competing at a top level against top players in the region,” Madara said.  

 Besides Tang, Madara was also recognized with an award, as she won MWC Coach of the Year honors for the third year in a row. “This year, coach Madara has been actively trying to have us be more of a cohesive group, and I think that’s helped a lot,” Hickey said. “I think Coach Madara is very attentive to everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. When we’re on the court and struggling, she’ll give us tips that help a lot,” Tang said.  

 Madara led the Pioneers to a perfect 10–0 record this fall, which hasn’t been done since 2011. Since coming to Grinnell in 2016, she’s amassed a remarkable 61–21 record. Even though she’s coached many great teams in the past, Madara believes that this year’s team has something special.  

 “This year, the team just has this attitude that they don’t really seem to care who’s on the court playing. They’re focused on having a good time and supporting each other, and that’s fueled our success. As coaches, we don’t have to worry about the dynamic of who’s playing or what not. Everyone’s playing, competing, supporting each other and having a good time,” Madara said.

Tennis Coach Paige Madara has won won MWC Coach of the Year honors for the third year in a row while leading the team to a successful season. Photo by Andrew Tucker


Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *