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Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
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Michael Lozada
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Nathan Hoffman
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Harvey Wilhelm
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Women’s Tennis finishes their season perfect

As if the unbeaten regular season wasn’t enough to prove that Grinnell had the best women’s tennis team in the Midwest Conference, the Women’s Tennis team routed both Lawrence and St. Nobert in the Conference tournament on Oct. 14 to become conference champions for the second year in a row and seventh in the past eight years.

Photograph by Andrew Kelley.

The victory over St. Nobert in the conference finals game earned Grinnell an automatic berth to the NCAA Division III National Tournament next spring.

“Heading into the championships I thought Grinnell had the best team in the league,” said Head Coach Andy Hamilton. “Because we ended up showing that we are the best, I am very pleased with the fact that we played to our ability level.”

Heading into the conference weekend, the Pioneers knew that the season was not completely over until the end of the conference play, despite a perfect regular season record.

“The team’s mentality heading into the weekend was to stay humble but also know that we were the best team in the conference,” Constanza Alarcón-Cordón ’13 said. “We needed to maintain our level and be aggressive and be confident going into our first match.”

In the semi-finals game against Lawrence, the women began with a 3-0 sweep in doubles from the teams of Laura Krull ’14/Sadhana Athreya ’14, Constanza  Alarcón-Cordón/ Emma McDonald ’14 and Shirlene Luk ’15/Toby Cain ’12. Number five and number six singles players Clothilde Thirouin ’14 and Hanna Feldman ’14 were the first two players to win their singles matches, resulting in a 5-0 shutout.

“We saw our [number one doubles team] crushing Lawrence’s number one doubles team, which is arguably the best doubles team having won the conference last year,” Cain said. “Seeing that really gave us confidence for the rest of the game.”

In the title match against St. Norbert, the Pioneers had a shaky start as the first doubles team of Krull/Athreya lost. They bounced back, winning the rest of the matches to ensure a 5-1 victory over the Green Knights.

“[The team atmosphere] was very exciting,” Alarcon said. “Most of us had participated in last year’s victory as well and this year’s win was a testament to us as a team growing together and to a point where winning our second championship bonded us even more.”

The squad attributes its strong depth and support of each other to another successful year.

“I think it’s our camaraderie,” Krull said. “We all care for each other on and off the court. During practices we can challenge each other to play better and at matches we offer our vocal support.”

“I believe that the collection of players on this Grinnell team is better than any other women’s squad in the past. We also have tremendous depth with nine lineup players, so when we had illness and injury we just made a substitution with another talented player,” Hamilton said.

While the players dominated the weekend in Rockford, Ill., they know that there is always room for improvement heading into the spring season and eventually the NCAA tournament in May. Captains’ practices have already begun.

“There are always improvements to be made,” Athreya said. “Last year we didn’t do as well as we wanted to at the NCAA’s, so this year our goal will be to try to do better in the spring season against better teams and perform better at the tournament.”

The location and the opponents at the tournament will not be announced until the second weekend of May.

Along with captains’ practices, the team will face six to eight opponents in the spring season to prepare for the NCAA tournament.

“I believe Grinnell’s women’s tennis program is on the rise regionally and nationally,” Hamilton said. “I know our women are happy to show our strength in their play this fall.”

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