Last weekend, UW Oshkosh women’s tennis put on a performance impressive enough to land themselves in the spring WIAC Championship when they grabbed the fourth and final spot as the fall season concluded.
Senior Samantha Koppa finished second at No. 2 singles and then won second at No. 1 doubles when she teamed up with junior Kelley Hodyl. The doubles partners defeated UW-Whitewater, providing a crucial confidence boost that propelled the team into a successful playoff experience.
“I played some of my best tennis to qualify for finals for singles and doubles,” Koppa said. “My partner and I worked for every point in the semifinal match against the No. 1 seed and we ended up winning.”
The women really came in the clutch as many of them were seen playing some of their best tennis when it counted the most.
“I think it’s fair to say they both played the best doubles match of their lives this weekend,” head coach Robert Henshaw said following the pair’s performance.
However, the weekend at Madison’s Nielson Tennis Stadium was not full of positives for the Titans. There were many close games that could have gone either way, and for the majority of them, the team relinquished losses to the opposing schools.
“We lost four match-deciding tiebreaks, which really could have been significant enough in the total scoring to put us in contention for either second or third place in conference,” Henshaw said.
“However, it is a testament to how strong our team is that we were literally points away from being one of the top two teams in the conference.”
These close-margin losses could be attributed to the team being down on themselves after missing some shots. This then leads to unforced errors that accumulated into bigger losses of points and even games.
“What didn’t go well was that I think when we start to miss shots, we get into our own heads which makes it even worse,” Hodyl said.
Nonetheless, the team earned its fourth place ranking by racking up 38 points in total, only trailing UW-Whitewater (54), UW-Eau Claire (52) and UW-La Crosse with 50.
The collective efforts of each player throughout conference boosted team morale as the Titans begin the preparation process for the spring.
“This weekend was full of incredible moments,” Koppa said. “Everyone supported each member of the team through each match. This confidence from other team members and working hard during practices created some very close matches during conference.”
The four-team scramble will determine who gets to an automatic berth to compete in the 2020 NCAA Division III Championship.