Tennis brings home hardware from Conference

Jong Hoon Bae

baejongh@grinnell.edu

Lily Hamilton ’19 made it to the semifinals last weekend at Conference.   Photo by John Brady

Lily Hamilton ’19 made it to the semifinals last weekend at Conference.
Photo by John Brady

The women’s tennis team traveled to Madison, Wisc. to play in the Midwest Conference Women’s Tennis Championships on Oct. 17-18.

“The team had a pretty good week and all the players played up to expectation,” said head coach Andy Hamilton ’85.

However, the week did not go by without some commotion. In the finals match of the No. 1 doubles competition, Judith Fan ’19 and Amelia Cogan ’19 were playing Lake Forest College when fans of Lake Forest expressed their frustration by yelling loudly toward the Pioneers.

Cogan, who is known for her hard-hitting style, struck a ball that hit the racket of the Lake Forest player that was positioned closer to the net. The ball hit the racket so hard that the opponent player fell on her back.

“The parents were yelling, the coach was yelling and my partner (Cogan) said she was sorry,” Fan said.

“The Lake Forest fans were verbally abusing our players,” Hamilton said.

Cogan and Fan, however, went unfazed by the incident and went on to dominate the match 8-1, making Cogan and Fan the best doubles duo in the Midwest Conference.

“I think the Lake Forest players after the incident were really mad and couldn’t play well, but we could have probably won [without the incident],” Fan said.

The duo weren’t the only Pioneers crowned champions. Julia Rumley ’16 and Sydney Banach ’18 won the No. 3 doubles title, and Anushka Joshi ’18 captured the No. 5 singles title.

Joshi cruised to the finals with a quarterfinal win against Zoe Maurer of Lake Forest 6-3, 6-1 and a 6-1, 6-1 victory against Gracie Benton of Cornell College in the semifinal. Joshi, however, was not short of nerves on game day despite her dominance.

“I was super nervous before I went into the first match, but I knew that I could beat her,” Joshi said.

The struggles for Joshi came in her finals match against Ashley Randazzo of St. Norbert College that she won 6-4, 6-4.  Joshi started the first set down 2-0 and needed to rethink her strategy against her opponent.

“I went down 2-0 and started to freak out,” Joshi said. “I didn’t know what to do. It was a game of power and I was not winning.”

Joshi, however, who was undefeated throughout the season, changed her game and started to mix up her shot variety, making it hard to for her opponent to find a rhythm.

The second set was also a nail-bitter. Though Joshi was up 4-1, her opponent came back to make it 4-3. But Joshi was quick to come through with a win of 6-4 and ultimately captured the title.

With these victories, the Pioneers finished their fall season on a high note and are now preparing for their spring season.

Joshi mentioned that as a first year she made the mistake of doing nothing in the offseason, so this year she hopes to make some change.

“I ran four miles yesterday and I will continue to run,” she said.

Fan, who is going into her first offseason, is excited for the spring season because of the time she will get to spend with her teammates.

“There were ups and downs but looking back … it was really good to spend time with the team,” she said.

Hamilton said that the team hasn’t talked about offseason yet, but he mentioned that the women should all take a break.

“They will need to get away from the game of tennis for a little bit,” he said. “But strength is key and we will need to work on building our strength.