The women’s tennis team has a challenge on the road as they travel to Ripon and St. Ambrose for matches later this week. The match against Ripon is a new one for the women’s team, and looks to be a fairly even matchup.
Ripon is 2-8 this season, performing at around the same level that Loras has. Ripon also has about as much experience under their belt as Loras does this season. Loras hopes to take the win in Ripon and use that momentum towards the matches coming later in the week.
The meeting with St. Ambrose will be the highlight of competition for the women as they face the team that they split with for one win and one loss in two meetings last season. The victory against St. Ambrose came in the 2015 spring season right before the IIAC Conference tournament in April. The win was the first that Loras had achieved against St. Ambrose in a decade. The team looks to repeat the performance again this season.
“I think it’ll be a very close match, we’re very evenly matched teams as the results in the past seasons would suggest”, says Coach Fenwick. After last season when the team lost, 5-4, to St. Ambrose, then returned only to defeat them, 5-4.
“It will be a good indicator of where we are performance wise this season”, noted Fenwick. St. Ambrose has begun their season 3-0, while Loras has had a slow start to the season sitting at 1-7 currently. Loras has faced powerhouse teams early on, including Coe and Central, and with those challenges Coach Fenwick believes that the team is prepared for the matchup.
“Our tough early-season schedule definitely gives us (the team) an upper hand,” stated Fenwick. Additionally, the Loras women have eight matches worth of experience this season, giving them the upper hand in that aspect.
While St. Ambrose looks to be a testing competition, a win would steer the team back in the right direction. Knox College will also be competing at the meet at St. Ambrose, but Loras knocked off Knox easily with a 9-0 win last season.
The competition ahead is going to be a good test for the team, helping them not only gage where they are competitively but also allow them to gain experience on the court for the Individual Conference Championship that is right around the corner.
“More experience will develop match toughness,” believes Fenwick. With a young team with great potential, match toughness and experience is what is most important to the development of the team right now.
While the underclassmen on the team gain the court knowledge they need to perform in the future, the women’s team looks to their upperclassmen Maggie Clements and Jessica Dickhut to lead the team during this crucial part of the season.