Tennis team searches for first win of year

Cory Sparks, Sports Editor

The UW Oshkosh women’s tennis team fell to UW-La Crosse 9-0 on Saturday at Neenah Valley Fitness and Racquet facility, making this their fourth consecutive loss of the season.

So far this year, UWO is 0-4 overall with an 0-3 conference record with their closest match being a 6-3 loss against the University of Northwestern (Minn.) in the season opener on April 5.

As a team that is split down the middle between upperclassmen and underclassmen, UWO has a combination of younger players and experienced players that head coach Robert LeBuhn feels can benefit the team in the long run.

“[We have a] combination of experience and youth. With three returning letter winners and three freshmen we have a good foundation for the future,” LeBuhn said.

Despite experiencing a slow start to the season, UWO has leaders in singles and doubles competition who have the potential to provide the spark the team needs to capture its first win.

In singles competition, junior Michelle Spicer and freshman Maddie Toboyek both hold the team’s lone wins, and they are both 1-3 at this point in the season.

In doubles competition, junior Courtney Salisbury and Toboyek own the team’s lone win, but the duo is currently undefeated at 1-0.

While UWO was able to scrap with Northwestern to get three points, they haven’t been able to score since, losing 9-0 in three consecutive matches since that opener.

Coach LeBuhn identifies two blaring obstacles standing in between his 2020-21 team and their first win of the season at the halfway point.

“[We have a] lack of depth and experience,” he said.

The lack of depth is very evident to anyone who takes a look at UWO’s roster sheet; they only have seven players on the team. This limits LeBuhn’s options when choosing players for singles competition and combinations for the ideal doubles duos against other schools.

Despite the rocky start to the season, LeBuhn, who is in his first year at UWO, is embracing the challenge and is enjoying the exposure to the sport. He also enjoys getting to know the team that he plans to help improve in the long run.

“Having just started last October, it has been fun getting to know our players and Division III sports,” LeBuhn said. “I believe we have potential and through continued hard work we will achieve success over the next few years.”

The head coach is trying to keep it simple in his first year with the team; he wants them to look at this season one competition at a time. LeBuhn’s approach with this group of women is to build for long term success by getting them to believe in their own game as the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) tournament approaches.

“Our goal is simple. We are working on building confidence heading into the WIAC championships,” LeBuhn said. “In addition, we are preparing for the Fall 2021 season. Goals are fluid and ours will always be ongoing.”

UWO had a match against UW-Stout on Wednesday, and the results can be found on the UWO athletics page.