Tennis drops the ball Sunday

Billy Piotrowski, Sports Writer

The UW Oshkosh women’s tennis team had its second and third duals of the spring season Sunday. UWO faced off against the Coe College Kohawks and the Carthage College Lady Reds, falling to both.

The Titans only had one dual in March as opposed to last season where they had seven throughout the month. Sophomore Samantha Koppa noted the difference before the break and said it can give Oshkosh the edge as the season nears its end.

“This spring season is a little bit different than my past year because we have almost a full month before our next competition,” Koppa said. “I am looking forward to working on my technical, tactical, physical and mental aspects of my game before the next match. All of these aspects are very important and we have the time to work on them. This time will be very important for the team to prepare and work on anything we need to before our future matches.”

That training was put to the test bright and early Sunday morning as the first dual against Coe started at 9 a.m., and Carthage followed at noon.

It can be a challenge getting into competition form, and sophomore Lesley Kutnink said it takes more than just team practices to get ready for a dual.

“The team, as well as myself, prepared for our double header by practicing five days a week for three weeks [since March 3],” Kutnink said. “During those practices, we mainly worked on hitting high-percentage shots, mental strategies and the development of patterns of play. Additionally, outside of practice I have worked on conditioning with endurance runs and yoga.”

The duals didn’t turn out ideal for UWO as they lost to Coe 7-2 and were swept by Carthage 9-0. The Titans’ two victories against Coe came in doubles matches with the teams of Koppa and sophomore Alyssa Leffler, and Kutnink and junior Ashlee Polena.

Titans tennis will be competing every weekend to close out April, with the last scheduled event being the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference team tournament semifinals in Whitewater on April 28.

With this upcoming schedule, head coach Robert Henshaw said he is focusing on the best balance for his talented Titans.

“We have tremendous depth in our singles lineup,” Henshaw said. “Three of our singles matches against Coe were very close, and in a close match, the difference is truly only a few points here and there. The nature of tennis is such a singular event that I think our ladies need to make sure they are balancing that fine line between practicing hard, studying hard and taking care of themselves in order to rest and recuperate properly.”

The Titans will work on their balance as they head to Waukesha on Sunday to face the Carroll College Pioneers. After that, UWO faces off against Augustana College and Luther College in Rock Island, Ill.