Women’s tennis returns to play after stellar fall season


Contributed by Ted Schultz

Sabrina Tang `23 was ranked 13th nationally in women’s Division-III tennis.

Ashley Baek, Staff Writer

After dominating their fall season, the Grinnell College women’s tennis team returned to play their first match against Cornell College this past Saturday. After a series of stellar performances in the fall, they ranked 31st in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Division III ranking. The results of their March 4 match against Cornell College can be found on the Women’s Tennis page of the Grinnell Athletics website.

“I’m excited to see how we’ll take our best foot forward to play these difficult teams,” said Nichole Henning `26. Henning said that her favorite memory with the team last semester was her birthday in September. “The whole whiteboard was filled with these wonderful notes about me,” she said. “The team is there for all your moments, and I think that’s great. It’s like I have 19 built-in best friends.” 

After winning the Midwest Conference tournament last fall, the team is starting their spring season this coming weekend. There were many outstanding performances in the fall, such as Sabrina Tang `23 ranking 13th nationally in women’s Division III tennis. Tang was additionally voted the Midwest Conference Player of the Year. 

“Last season was really good for me,” Tang said. “The main thing I wanted to do was win ITA [Midwest Regional singles tennis championship].” According to Tang, they won in September 2021 by default. Tang said the team wanted to see if they could win again despite suffering a sprained ankle. “Coming back from the injury and repeating the win was really big for me,” they said. 

Tang sprained their left ankle at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III singles tournament at the United States Tennis Association campus in Orlando, Florida last May. However, they played through and won the match. Tang said, “I was chasing down a ball at the net that hit the net card. I was trying to run around it and hit a backhand, and twisted my midfoot.” Afterward, Tang took a 5-0 lead and won their game. In the end, they won the set 6-2.

I’m excited to see how we’ll take our best foot for- ward to play these difficult teams.

— Nichole Henning `26

Tang complimented the team’s accomplishments, saying, “we won conference again, and then we had a doubles team make it pretty far in the ITA tournament as well.” 

Joanna Giannakou `24.5 said that her highlight of the season was winning the Midwest Conference tournament. “We had five out of our six players win singles matches and one doubles team win a match,” she said. “I’m looking forward to playing nationally ranked teams and defending our national ranking.”

When asked about standout performances, Zack Hasenyager, head women’s tennis coach, pointed to Tang’s and Giannakou’s performances at the quarter-finals of the ITA. He also applauded Erin Jarvis `25 and Lily Perrin `25, who made it to the semifinals of the doubles tournament. “I think that was really exciting for us to see the success on the doubles team,” said Hasenyager. 

“I’d like to see us continue to not be satisfied with the idea that we’re ranked nationally but be challenged by that opportunity to increase the ranking and to think of ourselves in the capacity of a top 20 team in the country instead of a top 40 team in the country,” said Hasenyager. “[I’d] love an opportunity to prove that against some really good competition over the course of the next two months.”