Tennis records victory against Stout

Billy Piotrowski

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The UW Oshkosh women’s tennis team had an up-and-down week last week, ending it with a victory against UW-Stout on Friday.

The team entered its first matchup on Oct. 12 against UW-La Crosse with a 6-2 record overall. The Titans’ sixth win came the week prior against UW-Stevens Point on Oct. 5.

Oshkosh fell to UW-La Crosse in 9-0 sweep that Thursday, but were able to turn it around on Friday, beating UW-Stout 8-1. Coach Robert Henshaw said the team reacted well to facing teams on back-to-back days.

“La Crosse is a good team and they outclassed us on Thursday,” Henshaw said. “Our ladies turned it around and did a great job closing out their matches the following day against Stout.”

Oshkosh is now getting ready for the state championship tournament in Madison. The Titans are fourth in the division with a record of 7-3 overall and 3-3 in conference.

UWO has been improving all year after wins and losses. That constant improvement attributed to a five-match winning streak from Thursday, Sept. 7 against Marian University, to Sunday, Oct. 1 against UW-River Falls.

Part of the Titan’s improvement was competing in a few invitationals early in the season, with the most notable of those being the Hope College Invitational in Michigan.

There, Oshkosh competed against many Division II teams and was able to get a big confidence boost. Sophomore Lesley Kutnink said the experience she had with her doubles partner, freshman Kelley Hodyl, was a testament to the season’s success.

“While playing in Michigan, I was pleased to play a variety of schools from different divisions. We [Kutnink and Hodyl] played Grand Valley State, which is a Division II tennis team,” Kutnink said. “Although we had a tough match, the competition was extremely competitive and fast moving which we can definitely learn and improve from.”

The Titans showed that improvement in the weeks after the Invitational. Having a winning record of 3-2, bringing their overall record to 7-3.

UWO’s season has had some ups and downs as all seasons do. But sophomore Samantha Koppa said she is very pleased with how the season has gone so far.

“I believe that this season has been very successful for our team and individually,” Koppa said. “We have been able to compete against very good teams at Hope University, and have been able to close out matches quickly against teams that were not as good.”

Oshkosh is now looking forward to this coming Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 21st and 22nd. The team will be competing at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison for the conference championship tournament.

Having secured a spot at Madison by placing in the top-four of the conference, the Titans are going to have to be at their very best all weekend. Coach Henshaw said he has been impressed with the young team throughout the season.

“So much of our team is very young, and they are learning what they are truly capable of each time they step onto the court,” Henshaw said. “However, when I look at our scores, we are defeating teams by a wider margin than we did in the past. We still have to learn to dig deep and play our best against the best competition.”

UWO secured a spot in the tournament with a 7-3 record overall, with those three losses coming to teams in conference. The Titans may very well see those teams again this weekend, and if so, all of the preparation Oshkosh has made this season will be put to the test.