I could not be happier with our regular season this year. Our program has always been about the student athlete experience and player development. Within this structure, improving each year the goals we pursue have gone up and up. Two years ago in 2012 we won our first NWC tournament to go to the NCAA's where we beat my alma mater in the round of 64. Last year we went undefeated in conference play, repeated as tournament champs and went to NCAA's again. We aren't nearly where we hope our journey in the playoffs takes us this year yet, but this weekend in Portland we finished a perfect 12-0 season in conference and wrapped up our second consecutive conference championship.
|HP leads the way here in practice just like she does in matches|
The weekend in Portland was special because last year we really leaned on our top 3 players who were all first team all conference and gave us so many points in doubles and singles. We found out at NCAA's that you need to be better throughout the lineup and I'm so proud to coach a group of talented young women who this year chose to dream big, challenge themselves and do the work each practice and match all year to get better each day at every aspect of college tennis. As we defeated Linfield 8-1, Willamette 6-3 and Pacific 8-1 the contributions from newcomers Seana Minuth, Allie Wallin and Erin Bell were instrumental along with returners Katrina Allick, Jenna Dobrin, Maddy Webster, Courtney Lawless and Morgan Lawless, but the seniors also really stepped up.
It started versus Linfield where Hannah served and returned with precision and power and made the most of Jenna's huge shots to put away balls at the net; her focus, leadership, intensity and great play got us our first point and the momentum in the match! Maggie and Liv played exhibitions that day so we had 6 courts going during doubles and while spread out, we could feel their energy as Maggie dropped her match but Liv stormed through hers! I can't talk about this match without mentioning our Whittie of the Match Courtney who gutted out not just a doubles win with Maddy but also after losing the first set she set her will against her opponent and improved her tennis to take the second set 6-1 and a thrilling 10-8 third set tiebreak!
|Liv practices her signature backhand|
|Maggie's forehand has become a formidible weapon|
But in keeping with the senior theme, Liv got into doubles and teamed with Seana to get a point at #3 while HP joined with Allie to dominate at #2 giving us the doubles sweep. All three seniors stepped into singles with HP at 4, Liv at 5 and Maggie at 6. They dropped 11 games between them all winning in straight sets and to see each of them finish their regular season careers with some of their best tennis was a special moment for the whole team but especially me as a coach who has been with them for four great years.
I asked a lot of this team with our schedule this weekend, but we wanted a quick trip to have as much time on campus as possible and we did that by packing so much great tennis into two days and by winning we'll get more time on campus as we host the NWC Championships, the tournament to decide which team gets the automatic berth to NCAA's. We'll be at home hosting UPS, Linfield and Whitworth. Check the Whitman Website for the schedule and I hope to get a blog preview out in the next couple days as we prepare for a run at another championship!
Happy Easter (again) Mom, Dad, Sara, Beth - my whole family and all of our Whitman tennis family.