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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

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Feven Getachew
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Harvey Wilhelm
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Women’s Tennis 2-0 in MWC play

Coming off of a strong 2010 season, the Grinnell Women’s team is undefeated in 2011. Coach Andy Hamilton attributes this success to the depth and talent of this year’s team.

“We expected to be strong again this season, especially since we lost only one starter from our 2010 fall lineup,” Hamilton wrote in an email to the S&B.

“We are stronger in doubles this year due to the addition of junior transfer Laura Krull [’13], who is playing No. 1 doubles, and the addition of first-year Shirlene Luk [’15], who was a two-time doubles state champion in high school,” Coach Hamilton wrote. “The other strength is our depth: we have a legitimate fourth doubles team (you only play three) and nine singles players (you only play six).”

Not only does this year’s squad have a lot of talent, but they also have been working hard and have a great game day mentality, according to Krull.

“We knew we had a chance to do really well this season, and it’s been great to see how those hopes became reality.  Our pre-season training definitely helped us be ready for our big matches, and we’ve always come out excited and ready to play,” Krull said. “When we’re on court we all fight hard and always give 100%, and that kind of attitude and approach definitely pays off.”

Sadhana Athreya ’14 also credits the team’s success to their ability to work together and mesh.

“We have a very good understanding among ourselves and we get along very well,” Athreya said. “I think everyone is striving to get better every day and that’s the reason why we’re so successful thus far.”

Hamilton feels this amount of talent on the team serves the ladies not only in matches, but also in practice.

“We have two challenges—first, we have to bring it every day in practice.  Because our team is so good all our individuals will improve just by challenging each other,” Coach Hamilton wrote. “Second, we have to continue to work on our conditioning because it will be a factor when we go to the Midwest Conference Championships in October.”

The Pioneer’s closest match came in their opener against Illinois Wesleyan. Grinnell pulled through with a victory, beating Illinois Wesleyan 5-4. They finished out the day with a 6-1 decision over Augustana College.

“[The] best part of the season was winning our matches against Illinois Wesleyan and Augustana on the same day,” Athreya said. “The conditions were tough but we pulled through.”

Grinnell opened conference play with a 9-0 victory over Knox College, Sept. 10 on their home court.  They continued this achievement with another shutout match, defeating Central College 9-0 on Sept. 13. Winning singles matches for the Pioneers were Athreya, Luk, Krull, Toby Cain ‘12, Hanna Feldman ‘14 and Tatyana Sukharnikova ‘12. Grinnell is currently 4-0 in the season, and 1-0 in Midwest Conference (MWC) play.

The Pioneers hope to add another victory against MWC rival Lake Forest this weekend. A victory over Lake Forest will bring the Women one step closer to another conference championship.
“We’re going to have a challenge this Sunday when we play two matches in Davenport,” Krull said. “Lake Forest poses the biggest challenge before the conference championships, so we need to show up ready to fight for every point.”

The players will then test themselves at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Regional in St. Peter, MN.

“The Intercollegiate Tennis Association Regional … will have the best players in Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota.  We will definitely be challenged on an individual basis at the regional,” Hamilton wrote.
Athreya foresees the upcoming Intercollegiate Tennis Association Regional matches (ITA) as one of the team’s toughest matches.

“ITA’s are definitely going to be the toughest part of our season. It’ll be good to see where we stand as individuals against some of the best teams in the region,” Athreya said.

Ultimately the Pioneers look to defend their conference championship again this year. The Pioneers have won the conference title six of the past seven seasons.

“The Conference Championships at the end of the season is going to be our main focus,” Athreya said. “We are working hard to win the title again. We are going to face tough competition for the championship but we will be ready for it.”

“The biggest challenge will be winning another conference championship in October,” Krull said. “We’ll be playing ten matches in a three-day span … which will push all of us. I firmly believe, though, we’ll end up on top.”

Grinnell’s only remaining home match is Saturday, Oct. 8 against Monmouth.

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