Thursday, March 22, 2012

0-9: Women’s tennis has positive outlook despite season hardships

By Elyse Glahn, Guest Reporter

They came. They saw. They lost. Again.

The Pacific Lutheran women’s tennis team played against the Lewis & Clark Pioneers this weekend and came out with yet another loss, but players believe the team is improving nonetheless.

The Lutes lost to the Pioneers to a final score of 2-7 and haven’t beaten the Pioneers since 2008.

Even though the team faced a loss, they still have individual wins from players who continue to show consistency.

First-year doubles partners Allison McClure and Katie Patton won their fifth match in a row over the weekend with a 9-8 score. They are currently ranked No. 3 on PLU’s roster.

I was excited to play them [Lewis & Clark] for the first time,” Patton said.

The McClure–Patton duo began their winning streak March 2 against Linfield.

First-year Catherine Miolla also constantly brings in wins for the Lutes. Milolla won her third singles match against the Pioneers, and won two out of three games within that match, coming out with a 10-5 score.

Miolla said she has been working on her forehand stroke for the past several weeks and thinks it made her a better player.

Since they are young, many members of the team believe they have much-needed chemistry that’s been building positively since the fall preseason tournament.

Junior Tina Aarsvold said the team has been more cohesive than it was in the last couple years. Aarsvold believes the team’s chemistry off the court matters because it will affect their play on the court.

Aarsvold said the team’s age isn’t a main factor in the losing record.

“Our freshmen are good players,” Aarsvold said. “The competition is tough. All the matches are close though, and I don’t feel like we’ve been blown away like in the past.”

So far, the Lutes’ closest game has been against Willamette, scoring 4-5.

“The losses give us more motivation, and the close matches have driven us, Aarsvold said. ”We know we’re a good team, very eager to get that win.”

The season has reached its midpoint without a win, but the Lutes will have a chance to improve their game and rematch the same teams in their league, such as Lewis & Clark, Willamette and Pacific.

“After each match, we improve,” Patton said. “When we play these same teams again, we can go in with a new strategy.”

Until then, the Lutes will go to California during spring break to play Biola, California Lutheran University, La Verne and Occidental March 25-28.

Aarsvold said these teams are good, but it will be an opportunity to build upon that positive chemistry and, more importantly, learn skills from these teams and use them against local conference teams.

“I just brush off the lost matches and move forward,” Patton said. “We have confidence, we’re excited about tennis and looking forward to future matches.”