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Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
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Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
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Women’s Tennis goes for twenty wins

The Women’s Tennis Team won twice last weekend, beating Northwestern  College 9-0 and Cornell College 8-1 in their first home matches of the spring season.

“We had a great start, beating Northwestern and beating Cornell really easily,” said Senior Captain Jill Akiyama ’10.

The team is now 18-6 for the year and 3-3 this spring, after going 1-3 on their Spring Break trip to Florida.

“We’ve had several hard matches over our Spring Break, and for the most part they were pretty good teams, so I wasn’t too surprised [by our 1-3 record],” Akiyama said.

Coach Andrew Hamilton attributes the team’s Spring Break losses to the four month off-season since their fall campaign.

“In our Spring Break matches we were a little off, not in very good shape, and I think our tennis suffered because of it,” Hamilton said.

Because of NCAA regulations, Hamilton is not allowed to act as the team’s coach during the break between seasons, and the team is not allowed to officially meet or practice.

“When we resumed competition last weekend we were just a little bit more tuned up, and the conditioning level has come along,” Hamilton said. “We were able to play at that high level that we played at last fall.”

The team’s 15-3 fall season ended with a close loss in the conference semifinals, a disappointment for a team that last year set the school record with 20 wins, won the conference championship and became the first Grinnell team to win a NCAA national tournament game, according to members of the team.

Because the team didn’t win the conference tournament, they will not participate in nationals. Their spring season, which often serves as a warm-up for the national tournament, will now be less intense, allowing the team to focus on building up for next year. They also have an opportunity to tie last year’s 20 win record.

Toby Cain ’12, who starts singles and doubles at #1, thinks the team can regain its elite standing next year.

“It was nice that even though we didn’t win conference to see that we have a very strong team in the making,” Cain said.

Akiyama agreed, saying, “Despite the fact that we lost the team conference, I think we had a great season last fall.”

Hamilton still sees the team as a top contender in the conference.

“We’re top three in the league,”  Hamilton said. “We had 15 wins this fall and we’re pushing for 20 this spring.”

With 18 wins, the team needs to win both of their remaining games to reach 20. They will play Simpson College, who they beat 7-2 in the fall, and Central College, who they edged past 5-4.

Hamilton hopes they reach 20, in part to “provide for a great finish to our two seniors’ careers.”

In addition to striving for 20 wins, Cain hopes this spring season will help build up the team.

Next year, the team is looking to fill three positions in each the singles and doubles lineups to replace graduating seniors Akiyama and Kelsey Picken ’10 as well as rising juniors Cain and Tatyana Sukharnikova ’12, who are taking alternate semesters abroad.  

They will be replaced either from within or from first-year recruits, according to Hamilton.  

Hamilton and Cain mentioned one prospective student who has committed to Grinnell and will start, in addition to others who may.

“The team has really come together,” Cain said. “We have a lot of momentum. We have a lot of enthusiasm.”

After playing at Simpson tomorrow at 10, the team will finish the season at home against Central on Tuesday, April 27 at 4 p.m.

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