Tennis heads into conference with a pair of wins

Cory Sparks, Sports Reporter

The UW Oshkosh women’s tennis team won two out of its three matches last week, defeating the Milwaukee School of Engineering with a score of 8-1, losing to UW-Eau Claire 8-1, and then sweeping UW-Stout to close the weekend with a 9-0 win.

On Wednesday, Oct. 9, Oshkosh played exceptionally well against MSOE on their home turf, according to junior Kelley Hodyl, who took home victories in singles and doubles.

Hodyl said the confidence built with the previous victories in the past week has really gone a long way in terms of keeping this Titan team high-spirited.

“Against MSOE, I think the team as a whole had good momentum from all our recent wins and that kept the ball rolling into that match,” Hodyl said.

Other notable performances from the matchup include singles player Alyssa Leffler who won 6-0, 6-0 in straight sets and singles player Samantha Koppa who won 6-1, 6-1.

Oshkosh would then go on to face a rude awakening at the Neenah Fitness & Racquet Center when UW-Eau Claire dealt them their second-largest loss by margin of the season (the first being a 9-0 shutout against UW-La Crosse) with an 8-1 victory.

This snapped Oshkosh’s four-game winning streak, as the Titans were unable to get over an early deficit.

“The 8-1 loss against Eau Claire really taught us that we need to have good mindsets going into our matches,” Hodyl said. “A lot of us went into our matches with a negative mindset because of how matches have gone in the past. I think it’s key for our team to start each and every match with the idea that we have just as much of a shot at winning as anybody.”

The team took this message to heart when they delivered a 9-0 shutout to UW-Stout on Oct. 13. The blowout was a crucial rebound for UWO as it improved their record to 7-2 overall on the season with a 3-3 conference record.
Notable performances from this throttle include singles player Lesley Kutnink (6-1,6-0) and doubles partners Leffler and Michelle Spicer (8-2).

The win put the Titans back on track and has kept morale high going into the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship.

“Having a four game winning streak really goes to show how we have all improved both our individual and team efforts. It proves that we are a strong, competitive team that is capable of doing great things. We truly have had an amazing season,” Hodyl said.

Hodyl said the team has continued to show they are a team capable of making a deep playoff run and the team remains optimistic they can do just that.

“I believe we have a really good shot at doing well this year because this is the best I’ve seen everybody play with both mental and physical standpoints of our games at an all-time high,” said Hodyl.

Oshkosh will begin their quest to state on Oct. 26 in Madison, Wisconsin for the kickoff to the WIAC Championship conference level competition at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium where they’ll hope to back up their impressive regular season performance with a strong playoff run.