Tennis loses close match at Carthage

UWO won three of six singles matches but came up short in doubles play, falling to a 5-8 record overall and 3-3 record in conference play


Lydia Sanchez

Junior Samantha Koppa stands waiting for a return. Koppa won her doubles match 8-2.

Billy Piotrowski, Sports Writer

Last Sunday, the UW Oshkosh Tennis team faced off against Carthage College at the Life Sport Athletic Club in Racine. The Titans were unable to snap their four match losing streak, falling 5-4 to the Lady Reds.

The Titans started their spring season late last month with a trip to the United States Tennis Association national campus in Orlando, Florida. Head coach Robert Henshaw said the team is approaching their potential, and it was revealed in the showdown with Carthage.

“We have been getting progressively better as we play our matches,” Henshaw said. “This past weekend against Carthage, we had three matches go to a third set tiebreak. We were 1-2 in those tiebreaks. Had we won just one more, we had the meet won. I was pleased with the effort of all the ladies on the team. Ashlee Polena and Michelle Spicer have played really good singles this spring. They have been anchoring our team, and we need to get a bit more consistency from a couple other players.”

Polena won her singles match against Kira Mautone 6-2, 6-2 and said her result came from the team’s focus leading to the match.

“Heading in to Carthage, we were just prepared for a good match,” Polena said. “Since this isn’t conference, we went in ready to just get in some good play before our NCAA match coming up. We just want to be as ready as we can be.”

Junior Alyssa Leffler returns a ball over the net in Sunday’s home match against Cathage College.
Lydia Sanchez
Junior Alyssa Leffler returns a ball over the net in Sunday’s home match against Cathage College.

Close losses are tough to take, but as freshman Michelle Spicer said, it’s the best way to learn and find out what you can work on.

“You can only learn when you lose, so you just learn what to do better next time and what you can work on,” Spicer said.

Henshaw said he is helping the team focus on their mentality and stamina during sets.

“We are focusing on decreasing our unforced errors with nearly every drill we do in our practices,” Henshaw said. “I’m attempting to elevate both fitness and focus in every point in our practices so that in a match, we are completely comfortable with 40-shot rallies. Tennis is so mentally demanding, and there is plenty of time for your mind to wander.”

Henshaw said that if his players believe in themselves and their abilities, they will turn the corner and win more matches.

“A couple players on our team need to enter matches with a winning mindset and maintain that mentality throughout the entire match,” Henshaw said. “Once you doubt yourself, a good opponent will sense the weakness and attack.”

The Titans’ road to the WIAC team championship continues Friday when the Titans head to Iowa to face off against Luther and Wartburg Colleges.