The UW Oshkosh women’s tennis team is heading into the end of the season on a positive note, going 1-1 this past week to drop to 1-2 in the conference. The Titans lost to UW-Whitewater for the team’s second loss of the season, which came after UWO swept UW-River Falls.
Second season loss
After Tuesday, the Titans are fifth in the conference standings after getting swept by the conference-leading Warhawks, 0-9. Head coach Robert Henshaw said he was very impressed with the whole team’s performance so far this year.
“Members of the team have been accepting their roles and giving their best effort while on the court,” Henshaw said. “Nearly the entire team has been finishing well. Finishing games, sets and matches with confidence.”
That confidence and effort are what kept the ball rolling for UWO’s five-game winning streak. This winning streak has lasted from the second week of September through the beginning of October and ending against Whitewater.
UWO junior Hannah Peters, who lost to Whitewater’s Jillian Wallace by a set score of 6-1, 6-1, was very happy with the Titans’ season thus far.
“This season has been going really well for us so far,” Peters said. “I feel like, as a team, we are making more of a name for UW Oshkosh not only here in the Fox Valley but also in conference.”
Even after the Titans’ loss to the Warhawks, they still have the second-best overall record in conference. At 5-2, the only team better than UWO in that category is the still undefeated 7-0 UW-Whitewater.
However, with the loss, the Titans are fifth in conference with three matchups to go.
UWO doesn’t play the Warhawks again during the regular season, but there are three conference matchups left for the Titans. They could still see Whitewater during the conference championship depending on how the remainder of the season progresses.
Sweep in River Falls
On Sunday at UW-River Falls, the Titans beat the Falcons 9-0. All six singles matchups and the three doubles matches resulted in Oshkosh victories on Sunday.
In singles play, the Titans only allowed a total of 16 points to be scored against them and had six match shutouts, including two each from sophomore No. 2 seed Alyssa Leffler and freshman No. 6 seed Kelley Hodyl. This victory marked the fifth consecutive victory for Oshkosh, which started after the team opened the season with its only loss before Tuesday.
The Titans don’t have much time to rest after the team’s loss to the Warhawks as Oshkosh faces off against UW-Stevens Point today. The Pointers are currently sixth in conference right behind UWO.
Oshkosh is fast approaching the final matchup of the regular season. Even though the end is near, sophomore Lesley Kutnink said the team is still looking to better itself every week.
Kutnink said she wanted to win close matches this season and makes strides as the season progresses.
“Good players can make the match go into three sets or a third set tiebreaker, but great players can walk off the court with the win.” Kutnink said.
Doubles play has been very strong for the Titans this season. With a record of 16-5 through seven matchups, the only doubles losses were two against UW-Eau Claire and three against UW-Whitewater.
Henshaw said the team has placed a special importance on improving doubles play and these improvements can translate to other areas of play.
“We have spent a good deal of time working on new doubles concepts and tactics,” Henshaw said. “If we can play with confidence and trust these tactics, I think we will have a great shot at defeating teams who have spent years atop our conference standings.”
The Titans had a big winning streak heading into Tuesday’s matchup against the Warhawks, but Whitewater, who has been undefeated in conference for the last six years, had history on its side against UWO.
However the Titans are still keeping a positive light to this. Even though it was a big team loss after a great winning streak, Peters is very happy about her progress so far this season.
“I think that my singles game has gotten much stronger this season, and I like that I’m working out points on my own and knowing what shots to hit when; my mental game and strategy has helped with that,” Peters said. “I’m competing well against opponents who I would normally lose drastically to, and instead I’m hitting with them.”
The team has been practicing and playing their hardest all season, and Henshaw is looking for some of the players to take one more step to attain more success.
“I’m looking for individuals to step up and get some wins,” Henshaw said. “Over the past few years, I’ve looked at scores and we went from getting beaten handily by the top of the conference to having close sets and a couple wins. Now we just need to have a couple players step up and show the rest of our team that we expect to be the team to beat.”