The women’s tennis team recently began practices for their 2016 fall individual season. The team is coming off of a successful spring doubles season where they won their fifth consecutive SCAC championship and made it to the second round of NCAA regional playoffs, and is looking forward to continuing this tradition of success, and going even further.
Last spring was a strong season for the Tigers. Senior Liza Southwick and junior Marie Lutz won the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division III Southwest Regional Doubles Championship for the second year in a row, and are back to defend their title. At NCAA Playoffs, the Tigers won their first round against University of Texas at Tyler, but were eliminated in the second round by Claremont-Mudd-Scripps College. This year, the team is ready to take the next step.
“We always get out the same round of regionals. There’s three rounds you have to win and we always get out on the second, so our goal this year is going to be to win that second round at regionals,” said Blair Porter, junior. “We always end up playing a No. 1 ranked team the second round, so if our ranking improves throughout the season, we won’t end up playing such a highly ranked team so early on. We’re ranked 24th right now, and we definitely want to get into the top 20 [in the national ranking.]”
This season, the women’s tennis team is welcoming a huge first-year class. The team is now half first years, with a total of nine new players. Returners are thrilled by the energy and excitement that the rookies bring, as well as the new strengths they are certain to contribute.
“We’re already a lot better because we have nine new players, and just their enthusiasm about Trinity and the new energy of having some good new players is going to be very helpful,” said Gretchen Rush, head coach. “We have a couple of girls from California that we are very excited about, Zoe and Mary. They’re an accomplished doubles team, and they are twins so they’re used to each other, so just having them as a doubles team will be helpful.”
Additionally, the larger numbers allow the team to train in ways they previously were not able to.
“The large class is definitely making us stronger because we now have groups at different levels. So we now have so many people at every level that everyone can train with someone,” said Caroline Kutach, sophomore.
“It’s different because my first year, we had a total of eight people on the team, and now we have 18, so it’s making us stronger because we can play drills against our own level and we can separate off into training groups,” Porter said. “In the past you would have to drill with people of different levels so it wouldn’t always work out very well.”
The tennis team begins their singles season this Friday, Sept. 9, with a practice tournament. The team will then go on to the UT San Antonio/Intercollegiate Tennis Association Southwest Regional, where they are looking to win their third consecutive doubles championship.