Women’s tennis finish with high hopes
Women’s tennis competed in their first tournament of the year at the Willamette Valley Four-Way which did not start well but ended on a high note. Despite not having a coach since the summer, they marched into McMinnville on the gloomy weekend of Sept. 7 and 8 having high hopes to start their season off well. Unfortunately, Willamette University had a Saturday to forget as the Bearcats were defeated in all of their doubles and singles matches that day.
The doubles teams, the first comprised of senior Alyssa Oberg and junior Robin Pashek and the second comprised of first-years Yulia Heggestad and Analiese Terrazas, were defeated by George Fox University (GFU), 8-4 and 8-0 respectively, another doubles team, comprised of first-years Paisley Lieske and Rebecca Griffith was defeated by a team from Pacific University (PU), 8-2.
“Saturday really served as a trial day, to see what we needed to do…[It was] the first time we didn’t have a coach to help us figure out a game plan before and during the match,” says Oberg.
Oberg and Pashek also competed in singles, both losing their matches in the first round two sets to zero and both losing in the second round, where Oberg was defeated again two sets to zero. Pashek grinded out her final match of the day taking her Linfield opponent to a super tiebreaker, after the first two sets ended 7-5 and 3-6. A super tiebreaker is a first-to-10 tiebreaker to decide the match instead of playing a normal third set. Pashek was ultimately defeated 10-6 to end her Saturday.
Despite the dismal outcome the day before, Oberg and Pashek displayed both their mental and physical toughness on the second day of the tournament. The veterans stormed into their doubles matches, first defeating their GFU opponent, 8-5, then steam-rolled their opponent PU, 8-1.
“This was the first time Alyssa [Oberg] and I played together, so every match was a new learning experience,” Pashek said about the doubles matches.
Oberg agreed, “We were learning what we both needed to do to support each other on court. Sunday was when it clicked and we were able to communicate and play as well as we did.”
The team of Lieske and Griffith and the team of Heggestad and Terrazas did not fare as well. They both were defeated in their first matches of day two, being defeated 8-1 to GFU and 8-0 to PU, respectively. Their final game, however, was against each other, with Lieske and Griffith prevailing, 8-2.
Despite the mixed results, Pashek is proud of the team. “I was really excited about how the team showed up…The team played with good energy and sense of competition.”
Oberg adds, “…I’m extremely proud of the team as a whole, since we are dealing with not having a coach. I’m proud of the first-years especially, this was their first college tennis tournament and to face that without a coach is very impressive and speaks to their character.”
Thanks was extended to the Associate Athletics Director Leslie Shevlin for handling the administrative work, and to the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Rob Passage for administrative work, providing transportation and filling in as coach.
The Bearcats will look to continue to improve going forward this month when they compete in the ITA Northwest Regional tournament at Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA. The tournament is set to happen between Sept. 27 to Sept. 30. Oberg is extremely excited for the upcoming tournament, “It is a big trip…I think it will be a good opportunity for us to bond as a team, since we have four new first- year players…As this is my last year here, I’m looking forward to improving my tennis game as much as I can and getting closer with the team.”