The Advance-Titan

Tennis finishes season at WIAC Championship

The UW Oshkosh women’s tennis fall season has come to a close this past weekend. Now, as the Titans look back on the team’s Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference season, they have a few months to prepare for the NCAA automatic qualifier tournament in Whitewater in the spring.

The WIAC Championship tournament took place this past Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 21st and 22nd. Oshkosh went into the tournament at fourth in conference play with a 7-3 record overall.

The Titans finished the regular season on a positive note with an 8-1 victory over UW-Stout on Friday, Oct. 13. Head coach Robert Henshaw said the team had strong points coming off that win to go into the tournament.

“I think we are playing strong singles throughout our lineup,” Henshaw said. “I believe we have one or two players who are going to have a legitimate shot at being the conference champion at their flight.”

In the first round of singles on Saturday, all six of UWO’s players were victorious, advancing to the second round on Sunday. In doubles, two of the three pairs of Titans advanced into the second round.

Senior Bailey Sagen is one of only two Titans in their final year with the team. After her 6-4, 6-1 victory in the first round, the top-ranked singles player for Oshkosh said she set goals and had a dedicated mindset going into the first day of competition.

“Going into day one, my goal was to win the first round of both singles and doubles to get into the front draw of the tournament, then to try and win the semifinals for doubles,” Sagen said. “Although I did win the first round of both singles and doubles, my partner [junior Hannah Peters] and I did not win our doubles match in the semifinals. However, we were still in the running for third place on Sunday, against a team we beat in a conference dual meet, so I spent Saturday night talking doubles strategies with my partner.”

UWO placed fourth this past weekend in Madison, securing a spot in the NCAA automatic qualifier tournament. With a few improvements over the winter, the Titans are looking to be a formidable force heading into the spring season.

The Titans were not able to secure victories in the second round on Sunday. However, with the team competing in the second round, it secured the Titans spot in the NCAA qualifier in the spring.

The doubles pair of sophomore Lesley Kutnink and freshman Kelley Hodyl were the only Titans not competing in the second round. They fell to the UW-La Crosse duo of Maura Anderson and Kitren Bonine in a tough 6-8 battle.

Kutnink and Hodyl have progressively improved as the season continued, and Kutnink said these improvements help make the spring season that much easier to look forward to.

“Kelley and I have definitely improved as a doubles team and finished the season on a great win against Stevens Point,” Kutnink said. “We are extremely excited to have the spring season ahead of us to continue to build that doubles chemistry and complement each other on the court. This spring, I am most excited to continue to play doubles with Kelley. I know we will use what we [have] learned this past weekend in our matches to come, by applying those doubles strategies and win more of the matches we should, especially when we are evenly matched with our opponents.”

Oshkosh has a break over the winter, not starting the spring season until early April. On Sunday, April 8, the Titans open up the spring season with a double-header at home against Coe College and Carroll University.

Henshaw said he is looking forward to the spring season, especially with the team coming off a strong showing in Madison, and that he has a few things he is looking for from the Titans over the layover.

“During our season break, athletes will continue to work on their flexibility, strength and conditioning,” Henshaw said. “They will also work on stroke technique, mental toughness and developing weapons on the court.”

The fall season may be over, but the Titans are nowhere close to finished. UWO will be heading to Whitewater during the spring season to compete for a spot in the National Championship Tournament.

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Independent Student Newspaper of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Tennis finishes season at WIAC Championship